The lyre is broken and Apollo weeps.
A deafness overtakes the baleful herd,
And like a veil of tar, its blackness steeps
In ruined, wretched night the wounded bard.
An arrow pierces through his plucking hand
As the worm, ere long, will pierce his winding sheet.
His tongue is cut, his pride of song unmanned
By the critic's knife or by the dull-wit's bleat,
Or silence, yet polite but like the grave
Wherein the dead receive all sounds of song
As stone on stone, or wave on briny wave.
And who but he shall mourn the severed tongue?
When all the world shall mock the singer's fall,
Then man has made himself the Devil's thrall!
George Chadderdon © 1996