The Nightingale and the Lily

A pretty girl walks through the garden and hands a yellow rose to the young man sitting there, “I cannot accept this.  I no longer feel the same. I’m sorry. Goodbye.”  She turns and leaves the young man, who says not a word as his tears stain his cheeks.   A nightingale witnesses all this from her nest in the garden’s oldest oak tree.  She sings her most wistful song for the young man and his lost love.  “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” cries the nightingale.

“I wish I had never fallen in love!” cries the young man.  “I wish that I never allowed myself to get so close to someone as to feel so lost when without. Love is such a horrible disease and I wish to never catch it again.  I thought by now, months after our breakup, I’d either get her back or get over her and I’ve done neither.  These wounds never heal, they reopen with but a thought. I have taken Ovid’s cures for love and still remain afflicted.”

Dejectedly he throws the yellow rose into the grey stone fountain in the middle of the garden.   He paces back and forth, oblivious of the beauty of his surroundings on this fine sunny spring day. Located in back of an old vine shrouded cottage, and ringed by ancient leafy oaks, is a beautiful garden with a pond and fountain.  Grey and terracotta stone outline walkways amongst the yellow honeysuckle, fiery red rose bushes and lavender rhododendron.  Butterflies flit amongst the aster and milkweed.  Long grasses and overgrown wildflowers lean into his path.  Muttering to himself,  he trips over a protruding rock stair ,  he catches himself by splashing a foot into the water  …..agghhhh!…. “The mischief of love causes such strife in mankind; it renders us incapable of our worldly pursuits when so distracted, it clouds our judgments and causes such excessive highs and lows. If I was a shrink, and Love was sitting on my couch, I would declare its diagnosis to be bi-polar.  The incredible range of wild irrational emotions this affliction causes, demands intensive therapy and powerful medication, to treat and soothe the patient. “
He pulls his dripping pants leg and shoe from the pond and sloshes his way into the house, muttering, “What is this cruel and insidious love that enters you like a tidal wave and floods the parts of you that you used to find important? It creates new seas and islands; The incoming tides, rearrange the landscape of your mind, leaving you lost, disoriented, and gasping for air.”

“Oh, you poor young man.” exclaims the Nightingale. “What I sing of, he suffers–what is joy to me, to him is pain. Love is life’s greatest pleasure, yet it’s the cause of his deepest misery” The night passes, coolly unaware of the angst of the nightingale and the young man.  The morning sun rises, equally ignorant of this tragic episode.

The song of the nightingale wakes the young man from a dream.  “Oh, beautiful bird of song, I must tell you that I dreamt of my love last night; She ran to me across the garden and leapt into my arms, kissing and hugging me while grasping a red rose in her left hand.”   “Oh wondrous bird, what say you of this?”
“A red rose you must have ,  for we must win back your love.” sings the nightingale.  The young man, not understanding the birds’ vows, hears only the beautiful notes of the songbird’s trill.
He plops down upon the stone chair at the edge of the fountain.  Holding his head in his hands, “I cannot give up yet. I will find what was missing in our relationship and give it to her.  The yellow rose wasn’t enough, I must find a new gift for my love. I cannot bear the pain of her absence.  I cannot give up without a fight, just one last try.”  His tears break the silvery mirror of the pond, sending ripples that disturb the lilies but naught else. The young man looks up and wails his grief out loud to the nightingale, as if it was his beloved.  ” I missed you this morning and it reminded me the striking contrast of a day beginning with you and a day without.  I miss cuddling at the break of day.  I miss seeing life through your eyes.  Its just not the same ; Life’s vibrant colors dulls without you.  Your presence made everything okay.  I miss you immensely.”  The young man slouches, wraps himself with his arms and weeps the day away.

“Mutual love is the crown of all our bliss.  I long to provide that for him.  I will seek out the red rose he seeks.” cries the nightingale as she flies off,   “Love comes and stays my soaring flight while the wind cries my lovers name.” Flying above the trees, over the town and into the wood , the bird sees the pretty girl amongst friends frolicking in the field. ” These other girls are not like my love…. Like a lily among thorns, so is my true love among the young women.”, exclaims the nightingale, imagining it is she that is in love.

The nightingale flies through the wood throughout the night, gathering all the roses she could. Each time she grasps a rose and flies back to the garden to deposit it , its thorns prick her breast and the open wounds weep an ever-increasing amount of  blood due to her exertions.  Laying the last rose upon a stair near the pond – delirious , she lilts to and fro until she  collapses and sinks into the water , another casualty of love.

The young man awakes to see all the roses in his garden and he gathers them together and wraps them within a blanket of lily pads.  Admiring the fragrance of the roses, he muses  “I never realized the sweetness of our union when we were together. I never realized the depth of my love until she was gone. ” He scratches out a poem for her on scented paper and puts it inside the bouquet.

Love is
Our silly beaming smiles at eachother
Love is
The desire to make eachother happier
Love is
Shared experiences only appreciated by us
Love Is
Trembling hands as I profess it to to you.

He brings the flowers to her house and lays them in an urn by the door , He then waits for her in his garden ,  “Come back to me, who wait and watch for you”
He falls asleep.  The next day he awakes and finds the roses strewn about the garden and a note in his urn.  I am sorry , I miss you but ………………………..

The young man wails, “My heart is broken , yet again , but for the last time. It is true that the hottest love has the coldest end. One is better off not knowing its temperature and measure. Love just leads to misery ; Its an ancient force , no longer necessary for survival of the species. I cast it aside.  It causes unnecessary pain and I wish to be free of such , evermore.”  He marches angrily towards his former loves home to tell her thus.  As he turns the corner, he sees her , she is dancing for joy , holding a lotus flower , apparently a gift from a suitor.  The young man sadly turns and walks back home.  “That is what she wanted from me all along.  I should have known.  I was so blind.  She deserves happiness, I wish I was the one to provide her with what she needed, but alas , I am too late.”

Months go by, the young man’s grief diminishes bit by bit.  One day he sees a pretty lass walk past his garden.  He has seen her before.  He plucks a lily from his garden and chases after her , handing her the flower.  “How did you know?”, replies the lass.  “It is obvious what you needed, one only needs to look”

By Kevin Beary
First draft and rough outline
An emphatic nod to shakespeare , ovid , milton , wilde , firsova, tennyson, c.s lewis ,socrates and Solomon amongst many other sources , all unwitting accomplices , that provide me with influence , topic conversation , quotations , and some outright plagiarisms.
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