Clouds and Stars and Memories.

I was a happy troubadour,
Content to be alone,
From town to town I’d travel
Playing the tenor saxophone.
I’d play the songs of years long gone,
Of ages yet to pass,

Of clouds and stars and memories,
Of leaves and flowers and grass.

And I was happy by myself
Until by fateful chance
One afternoon I came across
A maiden who could dance.

Each one of us was well beloved
As experts in our arts
But as a pair our sum became
Much greater than our parts.
And we became the best of friends
We’d talk from dusk to dawn

Of clouds and stars and memories
Of towns where we’d been born.

But all sweet things must end it seems
A herald came one day.
My dearest friend was asked to join
The emperor’s ballet.
My friend said, “Let us flee from here,
And find another land.”
But we both knew not to ignore
The emperor’s command.

The clouds had once been flushed with gold,
Now all they held was rain.
At night they hid the stars from view
And memories brought pain.
I came upon a hidden swamp,
I ceased all wandering.
I sat beneath a leafless tree
With birds that didn’t sing.

I cut a reed and carved some holes
To make a wooden flute,
And then I breathed the saddest breath
And made a mournful hoot.
I closed my eyes and fell asleep,
And sweetest sounds I heard.
I woke to find my wooden flute
Played by a song-less bird.

A shaft of sunlight pierced the gloom,
I carved a second flute,
Then handed it without delay
To an eager-looking coot.
I carved, and carved and gave the flutes
To herons, ducks, and loons,
And very soon the swamp was filled with
Happy-sounding tunes.

Then with my feathered orchestra
We played in every town
Of stars and clouds and memories
And thus spread our renown.

And then one day a herald came,
A letter in his hand.
We were to play in early May,
The emperor’s strict command.

Imagine how my heart leapt up
My sorrows all did end,
To see my very, very dearest
Dancing kitten friend.

And after three performances
The emperor bid farewell,
But bid us every first of May
To play his citadel.

The flock of birds and I did wander
Over rocks and stone,
But every year at April’s end
We’d play the royal throne.

And there we’d sit in happiness
And talk till night-time’s end
Of clouds and stars and memories