The Cuckoo and the Nightingale

Tinkle on the ivories
You’re waiting in the wings
Listening as others wheeze
The skinny croaker ‘sings’
She got the job through hours spent
Mouth open, on her knees
Her sound resembles native Kent
While dulcet tones that please
You warble on, just marking time
Stood, shuffled to one side
The notes that soar not hers, but mine
A gift they chose to hide
So as dramatic climax nears
On anorexic face
Fat lady singing through the tears
While mask remains in place

Pirouettes

What if things were diff’rent
If I hadn’t made that choice
Realised one potential me
But never found my voice?

Who might have been noticed
If I’d stuck to dance instead
Stayed thin and fairly limber
Training arms and feet, not head?

Would my first rebellion
Have led me to a Vet?
A change of scene, a childish dream
Escape without regret?

Or would life have been over
Twenty-six, a dying swan:
Now teach a bunch of children
To repeat mistakes, anon?

If no Vet, then no sample –
Talking point at interview
One misleading good example
Of something I’d never do?

Would I then have been granted
Any funding from the State?
Told to take the place they offered
And discover, just too late

That this was not what I wanted
As I struggled to fit in
Surrounded by the privilege
Of ignorant offspring?

My experience of teaching
At the tender age of six
Underlining hollow preaching
From a very diff’rent mix?

Would a lack of education
Have encouraged common sense?
Or constraint of situation
Left me sitting on the fence?

Would my schooling have consisted
Of bad habits and the barre
As I fought to hide intelligence
And keep my weight sub-par?

Could I ever have attempted
The exams I sailed through
Would I ever have been tempted
To seek out such pastures new?

Might my travels have been over
Long before I lived abroad
Would I ever have considered
A bouquet my just reward?

Would it matter, my opinion
Would the world have learnt to care
For the views of ballerinas
Who were talkative as air?

If I’d lived my life less boldly
Would I really have been me
Or would taffeta and greasepaint
Have been all there was to see?

On artistic licence

Trying to learn sweet music by numbers
Is driving me nearly insane
For what beauty reaches the listener’s ear
If the whole does but total refrain?
What passion may lie in the breath of a sigh
Where the singer but counts up to four?
It may have been writ so, but ’tis not a bit slow?
Music equals more than the score.
I’m doing my utmost to do the notes justice
And hope the composer’d be proud
To hear such life given to what he had striven
To write down when sung out aloud.
Yet I crave your indulgence – I mean you no harm
And I hope my performance will cause no alarm
As you’re paying to hear me sing these lines tonight,
I’ll be doing them my way – so please do sit tight
And reign in your tongue, hark ere you criticize
Or the beauty may strike you right between the eyes.