The Cuckoo’s New Song by Chris Darby

The cuckoo was singing his song one day;
The same two-note ditty, in the same old-fashioned way, That he had once heard his father sing,
And that his father before him had heard HIS father sing...

But strangely today, he heard no reply
And no female cuckoos came fluttering by; So he opened his beak and sang a bit louder,
His best two note chorus with his chest puffing prouder…

 But when empty dusk arrived he stopped his refrain
And lowered his head and bowed his beak in shame; “Why won’t they come?” he thought in despair
Then, “why won’t you come?” he chirped to the air.

And suddenly rang a voice, from high up in a tree;
It was a female cuckoo’s, as sure as could be.
“We are here!” she warbled; “we’ve been here all along
 High in the trees, listening to your song.”

“But the tune’s SUCH a BORE; we’ve heard it for years,
And our mothers and grandmothers, well it bored THEM to tears!
Are those two notes descending really all you can sing?
Come up with something else -  please - anything!”

Well, the little cuckoo opened his beak in surprise,
And a small tear of hurt pride welled deep in his eyes; He’d practiced his song for months by the glade,
And dreamed of the cuckoo queen he’d serenade…

But he swallowed his hurt as best he could,
And began to sing the finest song in the wood, Of rolling rhapsodies and melodies so trim,

He could barely believe that the notes rang from him…
Then other tenors joined in from nearby trees,
Ditching their old two notes for these new symphonies; And soon the whole forest with cuckoo chirps rang,
And even nightingales were jealous of the songs they sang!

And suddenly females swooped in from all over,
From treetops and bracken and brush, heath and clover; At first just a couple, then flew in more and more,
And all of them chirping back: Why didn’t you just sing that before?

Poem by Chris Darby