A Tale of Two Cities
Michael Tonn | Shantala Robinson
A tale of two cities
On the top of two hills
One lived in the light of day
The other in the night of rain
The town of day would laugh and dance
And celebrate the things that passed
The town of rain would hide and grumble
And curse the days of unending struggle
Though you may think this short story dark
Turn an ear to listen… it’s just about… to start.
Long ago in land farther than your dreams
Reigned two kingdoms, with two different regimes.
One blessed with sunshine and clear skies all year
With all the people grinning with a grin ear to ear.
The other land had to live in the dark.
And although not evil they had only a spark
Just a small piece of the thing we call love.
Never knowing of the pleasant sunshine above
Parties and hope they know nothing of…
Being kept in a shadow like the inside of a glove.
One day in land where all seemed so good
A small child asked if the adults understood.
Why the land over there was not so sunny
Or why the color in the sky looked nothing like honey.
He asked his parents and he asked his teachers
But they simply replied, “What a curious creature.”
So gaining his strength and all of his courage
He asked the king of that good hilly world.
The king was most shocked and amazed
For the king never questioned the abysmal blank haze.
The king asked his wise men, he consulted his queen
But none of them knew… not one single thing.
Soon after the test with not one single guess
They all decided not to know was the best.
But the child couldn’t stop there and just quit thinking
He thought up some more and continued his seeking.
One morning when the sun was exceptionally sunny
He went out of the city with his faithful pet bunny.
He needed the bunny to encourage his spirit
For the dark silent city he intended to visit.
The walk from hill took most of the day
Far longer than he intended to stay.
But he made up his mind to sort this thing out
And decided to leave all his fears and his doubts.
Far from his home the city looked quite gloomy
But there in the rain it was quiet and roomy.
All the people were sheltered, hid in their nooks.
Some of them with candles reading some books.
They didn’t lift their head and see the small stranger arrive
But kept to themselves nestled, burrowed inside.
The child walked up to the first house he saw
The first house at least with its lighting still on.
Knock, Knock, knocked the child with his hand in a fist
And the door started to open with one long creaky twist.
Much to his surprise no monster was there
But just an old woman with grey curly hair.
She blinked at the child confused and bedazzled
She might even have looked a little bit frazzled.
The child looked up with a great big warm smile
Something not seen in a long little while.
“Can I come in for a moment, out of the rain?
I need some time to rest my feet and my brain.”
The old woman moved and allowed him to enter
She got him some tea to hear about his adventure.
With his faithful pet bunny the boy started to ask
Why the sky over here is wearing a mask?
The woman had said that she didn’t quite know
But to ask the king on that daunting plateau.
The plateau which stretched high up in the clouds
With just a small stair case that wrapped it around.
So despite the heavy water falling outside
The child thanked the old lady and said his goodbye.
Up higher he climbed, high deep in the fog
With nothing but wind and the occasional frog.
That daunting plateau with that daunting tall peak
With that loud, shrieking wind that would brush on his cheek.
Higher he climbed till he got to the top
The top that would scare you and dare you to drop.
On the top he saw a strange looking castle
He entered the gates with not one tiny hassle.
He opened the doors and walked right in
There he saw a man crying… with his hand on his chin.
With sobs and deep breathes he looked most unpleasant
And the child wondered what to do in the present.
Walking up slow so the man not to fright,
“What’s wrong”, the child asked, “on this cold, chilly night.”
“I’m stuck in my castle with no way to get down
I’m stuck all alone so I wear this long frown.
I cry in the dark
I cry every evening
I cry with clouds
I cry without ceasing
I cry all the time that it’s hard to keep breathing.”
“It’s not so bad”, beamed the small child,
“You’re not all alone” as he beamed a great smile.
“I am here with you, with you and my bunny.
Look at us and you see, you can see something funny.”
With a jump and turn they started to squirm
The bunny and the child shaking and wild
“Try not to laugh like ants in your pants
Watch me and my bunny chance a belly dance.”
WEE-AH WEE-AH WEE… WEE-AH WEE-EEEE…
For a brief few moments he held it all in,
But suddenly he broke and he started to grin.
The king started to laugh! And He laughed laughed laughed…
laughed more than you would at twenty clown camps.
“Thank you for that, it’s been quite a while
Since I had a friend that could help me to smile.”
“But you will leave too like they all start to do.
You will soon leave, leaving me blue.”
He sighed with a shrug, lost a drop of small hope
He sighed with a shrug and started to mop.
Looking up at the king with a quiet small tug
The child walked over and gave him a hug.
“I do have to leave, my parents are worried.
I do have to leave but not in a hurry.”
“I can help you back down off the daunting plateau
I can help you go down to the people below.”
So the king took his hand and started to stand
They walked to stairs and they started to plan.
“I can’t look down,” cried this sad king.
“I can’t look down at this dangerous thing.”
“I’ll walk with you down,” said the small child.
“You can hold my hand and let’s walk for a while.
Each time you are scared pet my small bunny
Each time you get scared think of something that’s funny.
That’s what I did when I climbed this tall hill.
That’s what I did and I am here still.”
So the king and child climbed down all the stairs
They went down from the plateau and did it in pairs.
At the bottom of that great dreadful mountain
They met their first person, the city night watchman.
“It’s the king!” he exclaimed, “He’s down from the clouds!”
He yelled to the people and he yelled it out LOUD.
The people, they peaked from their windows and doors.
Then they started to shout with great joy and great roars.
As they started to gather the sky started to crack.
It started to crack and blew the clouds backs!
It blew them back and it started to shine…
The sun started to shine and was already past nine.
With great cries they lifted the king and the child.
They smiled and danced and danced for a while.
They started a party for not one day, but three!
They started to party filled with great glee.
But after the party the child did say,
“I have to go home, you know I can’t stay.”
Already my parents are worried to death,
Worried to death with tears on their breath.
So they all said good-bye and thanked the brave boy
The boy who helped them find all of their joy.
The Cloud Breaker they said that was his name
The Sun Maker forever, to their children they sang.
To his worried sick parents, the child went home,
And told them the story of the king all alone.
He talked of the people in the new sunny village
The statue they made in his belly dance image.
The parents were upset and the child had to pay,
But just a true sorry and promise to stay.
Or if the child wanted to stray…
He had to ask his mother and father and their word to obey.
So if you were worried of this tale ending dark
I hope that you see inside is a spark.
For all around you at home, or even at school
People or friends might try to be cruel.
But each time you see a cloud start to rise
You have the choice to shine, to shine in a new light.