All night the nightingale
sang and at first light
the owl homeward-bound asked
Who will come now summer’s here
to fill your nest?

But only I was there to hear
the song that never faltered—
or loneliness that clutches at the thread of life
the spring that comes again
to take up the song
if we’re spared.


Nightingale sings

Nightingale sings the sun down,
the moon up and the stars.
He sings through the night time
and the daytime without pause,
while fox and vixen walk the path
through meadow grass, through night wind,
beneath soft rain of song notes,
round, ripe, silver moongaze,
and the scent of early roses
in the dew-dropping air.

Passing storm


When the promised storm passes

on dark cloud wings,

and the sun sets in fire

on the meadow grasses,

and the soughing of the trees becomes a sigh,

you and I at the window listen,

waves of song in dusk-light glisten—

dauntless nightingales are singing

to the restless air.

The endless song in moonlight winging

from the hedgerow, soaring higher,

nothing in the night has ever seemed so fair.


Night singing

It has rained almost all day. My pulled muscle is still killing me. This san san describes this evening.


Evening falls, dark hides the falling rain;

Nightingale still sings in rain-dark hedge

That drips and water-trickles as light fades.

Songs and rivulets of water-sound fall

Bright, though day has gone, feather-soft and sweet

As birdsong in the hedge, brushed and hushed by dusk.

Sing the night away, brown bird; let music rain

With evening hues to smudge the sky with dawn.

Tonight’s nightingale

For the dverse open link night. Another nightingale poem. I have crickets throbbing in one ear and a nightingale in the other. If I go to the door, it’s frogs.


How sweet the song

that all night long

warbles and trills,


its music honeyed and clear

beneath the sky,

star-clustered and high

as heaven. I hear

the voice of ages past

in that sound, the last

birdthroat and the first,

the thirst

for a companion so strong,

that all night long

he trills his sweet song.

For the second nightingale


Dark falls slowly

drifting through the fading sun.

Night falls full of stars

as the curtain lifts on the universe’s display

and crickets chirrup.

Dusk deepens into dark

grass greys silver-templed.

There is no silent night beneath these stars

when the wind blows

and leaves sigh

and the crickets throb and thrib

and every fragment of sound

ever created in a birdthroat

is trilled and thrilled tirelessly

by the small brown

insignificant scrap of nightingale

that sets the dark to music.


I have been playing with this idea of ‘distilling’ a poem or a text by picking out and keeping only a few of the words. It doesn’t give something completely different, but it gives two poems for the price of one.

All my life I have longed to hear a nightingale and thought I never would. They have become very rare now in England and given the amount of pesticides the farmers threw around when I was growing up, I didn’t get to see a very varied birdlife despite living in a semi-rural environment.

For the last couple of weeks, we have been kept awake by birds singing all night. At three this morning, I gave up, opened the window, opened you tube to find the song of the nightingale, and to my great joy, the offenders were nightingales. All round the house, in the trees, the copse by the stream and in the hedge. It’s lunchtime now and they are still singing, louder than anything else. A dream come true.

All night the nightingales sang, cascades of tumbling trills and rippling runs of sound. All night as moon dipped slow and sickle sunk among the stars, I listened. And still they sing—tiny handfuls of feathers, heart and throat, yet such power. Did ever mortal musician play with such passion?


Night of moon and stars

spring soft and dark with song

heavenly woodwind.


And the erased/distilled version


Night trills,

moon, sickle-sunk with passion,

dark with song—