Nightingale Remembered

 

“Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird,

No hungry generations tread thee down”

But nightingales are begotten, born and die

Living a lifespan lesser than a dog.

 

I sing back not to the immortal song

But to the bird that might not last the summer.

 

Though fumbling in the enveloping folds of time

I hear what Spartans at Thermopylae

Recalled and what some thornscratched hunter heard

When humans first had wandered across sands

Into a colder, richer, trap-strewn land;

And when I smell salt water or top the ridge

Where treeless, manless, sweeps the unmarked waste

I am not the first, and clustering, unseen eyes

Share, and another mouth remembers taste

And lone and many, the nightingale’s notes rise.

 

The quote, of course, is John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale”. I remind myself that actual nightingales are birds, beings with individualities and short lives – but join Keats in fining the nightingale’s song a link to other humans who heard it.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. “Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
    Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?”

    Reply
    • Thanks, Mira. My heart aches – and, for that matter, I seem to have this drowsy numbness, doctor.

      Thanks again. I suppose the answer is “both”.

      Reply
      • “MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
        My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
        Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
        One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk”
        thanks for sprinkling Keat’s flavor over my night…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: