Sweet blackbird, stop your tune! Will you just listen
Please tell the goddess what I have to say
Yes, you can preen your feathers till they glisten
But what I have to tell her won't delay.
A song like this you never will have sung:
This woman... it's her posture and her gaze
I burn inside, and shake, and lose my tongue,
And if she smiles, I feel my heart ablaze.
I know. I am the cause of how you feel.
I nudged you with my finger or my heel.
This woman is my nursling and my ward
I chose you and demand you give your word
To cherish her and share this mortal world
Twice three-and-twenty years you have her love
Profounder than that you were dreaming of.
But when that time is done, she's mine again
To place in Ariadne's silver wheel
And light for ever the affairs of men.
Is that a bargain you would gladly make?
Sweet blackbird – goddess – though you see me quake,
It is with gratitude, do not mistake.
This is a bargain that I will not break.
Sweet dove, on a blue wing, I know you sing
Her tune: the goddess of the golden moon.
From a horizon streaked with heliotrope
You brought to man the olive branch of hope.
You know my question. Do I ask too soon?
You know my answer; you don't need to ask.
You made a promise; you were set a task.
Full three-and-twenty years ago you swore
To love the woman that I chose you for.
If you are false, and your good faith has gone,
I'll play Artemis to your Actaeon.
Or was the goddess ever fickle? Don't reply.
To make their story better, poets lie.
Sweet mistress, if you care to ask me whether
I rue the half a life we've spent together,
Please be assured, as I am sure you know,
I thank you from the bottom of my heart,
And if I had to make that vow again
My vow of three-and-twenty years ago
I'd shout it twice as loud as I did then
When stung by Venus' heel or Cupid's dart.
You have her love as promised, but be warned,
She is not any less for that my ward
And even more than you I know her worth
And in due time I'll take her from your earth.
Come crow, please tell your mistress though I hurt
With stifled sobs and numbness in my heart
I knew so many years ago it would be hard.
I chose to love and be loved, nothing less;
On earth there is no greater happiness.
We chose to live, and we lived, nothing more;
We did on earth what earth had made us for.
I do not moan; I do not weep or pray.
The nights are long and drear, but soon comes day;
And birds still sing, and flowers still bloom, and frogs
Make motorcycle noises in their bogs.
So tell the goddess I do not resent.
I do not repent...
And when I walk abroad alone at night
Away from veiling glare of city light,
While gazing at the Milky Way above
I ask myself which twinkle was my love.
O crow, you are a plain and simple bird.
You cannot voice my thoughts that you have heard.
Just tell your mistress “Cor!”