The Kingfisher

Composer William Rhys Meek, poet Stephen Meek

Kingfisher, where is your kingdom now?
Perching on a rusting iron bedstead throne
Your ancient river litter-soiled and plastic-strewn
Your royal blue defeated by a child’s balloon
Kingfisher you have no need to fear
These wretched traitors have betrayed themselves
In their endless quest for bright and shining things
They missed the azure arrow of your brilliant wings
Kingfisher your reign will be restored
Though these invaders stole a page from history
Soon none upon the Earth will take more than they need
Their castles will be vanquished by avenging weeds

The author of the succinct and elegant nature poem ‘Kingfisher’, set here to music, is the composer’s brother, Stephen Meek. The brothers have both dedicated their lives to the study of the natural world; its wonders, but also its stresses and problems, and this setting benefits from the long, shared experience of poet and composer. Stephen’s poem, which presents a brutally un-idealised portrait of humankind’s careless and ultimately futile dominion over nature, is supported by a superficially light, strophic arrangement, but one in which each verse contains unsettling modulation to convey a sense of warning.

The KingfisherComposer William Rhys Meek, poet Stephen Meek
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