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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
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Canaries Cannot Sing

Published by Susan on 07/27/2003 (3707 reads)
"I am the Great Prestigio...

"I am the Great Prestigio,
The world renowned illusionist.
I'm happy that you liked my show,
So glad the clou you haven't missed.
Please join me in a glass of wine;
We'll talk of that last trick of mine.

"You saw me strolling centre stage,
In tails, white gloves and black crush hat,
With in my hand a golden cage
In which a gold canary sat;
Or hopped about - they sometimes do,
Though one should scare expect them to.

"On tripod stand I set my cage,
While over it I put my hat;
The music hushed, then as in rage
With fist I squashed my gibus flat;
I straightened it, searched everywhere . . .
No bird, no cage, just empty air.

"And now I'll tell you how it's done :
I touch a spring, the cage snaps small;
Of such fine wiring is it spun,
It contracts to a tiny ball.
I palm it, slip it up my sleeve,
So swiftly you could scarce believe.

"The audience, you saw, was thrilled;
I score a triumph every night.
Of course the little bird is killed,
(It can't be helped) but that's all right:
I buy them cheap - females are best,
Because their bones are fragilest.

"If only I could make them sing
A note or two 'twould help my Act,
A trill before I touch the spring
And make my golden cage contract
To crush them close from claw to beak -
You know, I use up nine a week.

"You've said it, sir, my Act is great,
'Tis fit to show before the King;
My birds are honoured by their fate,
But oh if only they would sing!
. . . Why, must you go? The hour's not late;
Rome's so poetical in Spring.

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