And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove,
When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill...
-James Beattie, from "The Hermit"
Unexpected sunshine today- though I couldn’t see it and don’t know what it looks like.
I was lying on my bed, gazing at the ceiling and trying to nerve myself to study Property when she passed my house.
I’d never heard a nightingale. I only know that among all birds it has the loveliest voice.
So she is my first nightingale. Her voice is the sweetest sound I’ll hear- today, and perhaps all week long: a woman outside my window, walking past and singing.
I caught only a moment of her song- a honeyed, softly rippling trill, clear and high and warm.
I didn’t raise the curtains to see her, didn’t even move; only closed my eyes and listened, basking in the liquid radiance of her music.
I don’t know who she is or what she looks like. But she sounded like sunshine, and through the damp, clinging grey of the afternoon her voice was a dulcet and arid tranquility on my skin.
Labels: prose poem