A Musical

just a little creative-writing scrap…


He is a peasant, and he rises this morning to the shrill trill of a chickadee on the lawn. His wife is asleep and in the light of the sun she is beautiful, so much so that he must find a gift for her. His mind goes to the garden, where treasures await plucking, but which one for her this day? Among the new sprouts of Joni Mitchell and Stars, he remembers that yesterday the Eisley were already breaking their buds, promising tiny, brilliant blossoms simply perfect for a woman’s hair.


He gently slid out from beneath the hand-me-down quilt (a wedding gift from his mother: myriad hand-sewn patches of Beatles, Bonnie Raitt, Judy Collins, and bold swaths of Janis Joplin) and crosses the hovel floor. He pauses to stoke the night-fire; the heavy, sweet-scented Haydn reduced to coals, but still warm and cheering. At the door, other giants greeted from the distance. How lucky they’d been to find this plot; such a sunny hillock, with groves of Handel, Brahms and mighty Bach screening the garden and barn, and the single, towering Mozart waiting to be swung upon by the children and countless chattering squirrels.


It is a fine morning indeed. Dew still hangs on the broad, sleepy Morrissey petals around the door, and deep in the wood he glimpses a shock of Bjork growing wild in the shade. Spring is fine, he muses. Such treasures abounding! After claiming the Eisley sprig and returning to the house, his gaze falls upon the mantle, where he reminisces about their recent trip across the river to the village, where city merchants were stopped to trade on their way back from the sea. He had dreamt last night of their wares, still fresh in his memory. Each year new curiosities: Yet another line of Radiohead, even darker than the last. The old ones he had at home were much more to his liking, though. Festive Ditty Bops and rolls of soft, weathered Nick Drake caught his eye, but not so much as to cause him to miss the glint of a finely gilded mass behind some crates of exotic Ana Gabriel and Love Psychedilico.  Pushing past them, he had shouted in surprise.


To find a complete set of fine This Mortal Coil was a rare treat, and it seemed a miracle that the merchant accepted only three of his own creations in barter for it. “I like their shine,” the merchant had said. “Besides, this thing’s been taking up space since we picked it up a year ago.” His wife had given him a sharp glance, not understanding the magic the gloomy-looking pieces held for him, but she’d come to admit how charming it fit with the Jeff Buckley and Dead Can Dance already on the mantle. He gazes at it now, basking in the strange, silky taste it adds to the air in the little house.


He walks to the table, pours a draught of stream-chilled Blur and looks forward to breakfast: she’d promised a treat of smoked bacon and a new egg recipe spiced heavily with the Ratatat they’d dried last month. His taste buds quiver just thinking about it. Washed down with some warm Crosby, Stills & Nash, and he’d be ready for a solid day’s work. He wonders if – WHACK! The noise startles him out of breakfast reverie and he runs outside to find the poor crumpled body of a sparrow lying under the great pane of Cocteau Twins above the table. It was the second poor bird since they’d installed it to be fooled by the beautiful clarity. That came from the high Liz Frasier content, the craftsman told them. He thought the borderwork of brilliantly faceted Stina Nordenstam would deter just such an accident, but after all, it was that very crystalline transparency that had sparked the romantic notion of a dinner table view of the massive Taiko range towering above the Bachs. What extravagance for their little hovel! Is it really worth the price of the poor birds?


He cradles the tiny body, weighing nothing between his fingers, thinking of the sweet song its little voice would no longer trill, and wonders on an apt spot for burial. He decides on the little wild patch of The Cranes out behind the barn, with their multicolored bursts and dark, sleepy aroma. A cool, clear stream of Nada Surf rolls past the spot, and as his fingers tear through the loamy Portishead and Rusted Root for the bird’s final bed, the bright sun casts a glow on the land that, to the simple man, practically sings.

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