A Troubled Lyric

Sing a song to the bough in the window
Sing a song to the clouds and rain
Sing a song to the palms in the grey glow
But sing not to strip me of pain.

For I’ve been a high-singing dervish
A student of letters and law
A wandering pilgrim but wish
To never have seen what I saw.

Sing a song to the mirror and lantern
Sing a song to the dust and the ash
Sing a song that cannot return
Like the ink of that passing flash.

For in looking on such a face
As laid an armada to waste
Where then? Where then was that lame grace
To catch that moment’s haste?

Sing a song to the myrrh and frankincense
Sing a song to the silk and the wine
Sing a song to those who like pretense
But this is the song that is mine.

I loved and loved truly
And if that be a sin
Then let me say so coolly
— But no, I know not where to begin.

Sing a song to the secrets between us
Sing a song to the veil that hides
Sing a song to the whisper and hush
That not even a song can confide.

I hid my face from the chatter
I cracked and buried the cross
But when I saw you, the matter
Surely put me at loss.

Sing a song to the quivering breeze
Sing a song to the rattling storm
Sing a song to the tear-eyed trees
But what can such songs transform?

I stomped on the gardens of Heaven
I have stood through many a night
And though my heart’s bread was leaven
It is you who sets it alight.

Sing a song to the day that is dying
Sing a song to the tangerine sky
Sing a song to the heart that is sighing
But remember the night is nigh.

My heart is no longer my own
It has been spliced in two:
One for the Lord of the Tall Throne
And one for dark-eyed you.

Sing a song to the fading of nothing
Sing a song to the passing decree
Sing a song to whatever you would sing
But sing not a song for me.

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