Five Winter Songs

Song Cycle by Nicholas Marshall (b. 1942)

Word count: 0

?. A sheep fair [sung text not yet checked]

The day arrives of the autumn fair,
And torrents fall,
Though sheep in throngs are gathered there,
   Ten thousand all,
Sodden, with hurdles round them reared:
And, lot by lot, the pens are cleared,
And the auctioneer wrings out his beard,
And wipes his book, bedrenched and smeared,
And takes the rain from his face with the edge of his hand,
   As torrents fall.

The wool of the ewes is like a sponge
   With the daylong rain:
Jammed tight, to turn, or lie, or lunge,
   They strive in vain.
Their horns are soft as finger-nails,
Their shepherds reek against the rails,
The tied dogs soak with tucked-in tails,
The buyers' hat-brims fill like pails,
Which spill small cascades when they shift their stand
   In the daylong rain.

POSTSCRIPT
Time has trailed lengthily since met
   At Pummery Fair
Those panting thousands in their wet
   And woolly wear:
And every flock long since has bled,
And all the dripping buyers have sped,
And the hoarse auctioneer is dead,
Who "Going -- going!" so often said,
As he consigned to doom each meek, mewed band
   At Pummery Fair.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The cat and the moon [sung text not yet checked]

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon
The creeping cat looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For wander and wail as he would
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass,
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le chat et la lune", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 310.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]