One-Legged Seagull

There once lived a chap with a heart made of glass,

with a shirt and a belt and a buckle of brass.

He went to sea with a ewe and a cow

and a titmouse that sang as she sat on the prow,

and they sailed up a river ’til they met a white sow,

after a one-legged seagull called Hope, called Hope,

a one-legged seagull called Hope.

See, his homeland was burning, his father was dead,

and some jilted lover put a curse on his head;

the hills and the forest are all that remain

of the place where he lived ‘twixt the sea and the plain

and the river that gurgles its endless refrain

beneath the one-legged seagull called Hope, called Hope,

the one-legged seagull called Hope.

He met a witch-woman with no snakes in her hair

but dry leaves on her floor and wind in her lair.

She gave him a candle, a book, and a bell,

said, “Show me the signs and I’ll show you through Hell,

so you’ll withstand the sights and you’ll withstand the smell;

follow the one-legged seagull called Hope, called Hope,

a one-legged seagull called Hope.”

He thought she was crazy, he thought she was mad,

her cavern was filthy, but advice-not that bad.

She said he would find the white-skinnéd pig,

and there was the place to jump off his rig,

and there found a small city that soon should grow big

with the one-legged seagull called Hope, called Hope,

the one-legged seagull called Hope.

Our lad was a piker, a seadog, a salt,

and he knew that his failure just wasn’t his fault.

He didn’t ask spoil and treasure and fame

or even ask for the city to carry his name,

but the city he founded came about just the same,

under the one-legged seagull called Hope, called Hope,

the one-legged seagull called Hope.

So it grew large and wealthy and he called it his home

with his ewe and his cow and his ma birthed from foam,

and the titmouse sang songs of where all roads lead,

where lovers find love, monks practice their creed,

and farmers and soldiers and dreamers find seed,

like the one-legged seagull called Hope, called Hope,

the one-legged seagull called Hope.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] I wrote “One-Legged Seagull.” Then I re-wrote that into “The Ballad of Rome,” which regrettably leaves out the […]

  2. sgmalerich Said:

    I like this one very, very much…because one always loves the whole idea of hope, of possibilities for betterment…and to think that here hope is actually a living, breathing little being who, despite limitations of his own even, keeps going and going and inspires the man to keep going…it’s really beautifully symbolic-and very humbling, too for the reader…the more I read it the more I am inspired by it…and the fonder I become of this little fellow and his follower…and then there is the additional layer of you yourself having been inspired by the REAL Hope, as well as hope!


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