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Monday, November 30, 2009

Ed Roberts’ “The Nightingale Song”

Category: Issue 17

I just happened to read Ed Roberts’ The Nightingale Song, a short poem that has a sharp message. The poem looks at the world and life from his (Ed may also have chosen ‘her’, if in an eastern culture), i.e. the bird’s angle. To him, the world means a slew of creatures like eagles, wolves, cats, giant spiders, snakes, and man – all dangerous and deadly, and all waiting for him. He is ever at risk.

But, the poem’s coda takes a twist that compliments the nightingale’s courage and lifestyle. It reads:


Yes, the nightingale knows of all of these things
He knows they exist
And are always waiting
For him

Still
The nightingale
Sings

To the beautiful bird with a sweet voice, it doesn’t matter how many different kinds of physical creatures lurk in his way with one deadly instinct – death. What matters is his own sweet song, the identity of the bird that is cherished but would not spare him the life he deserves to live in this world. Humans perhaps can act differently and some do also by caging nightingales. But then, is a life of captivity better than death. Perhaps, we can also go a step further and save the nightingale from our and from othres’ threat. And then, we may find the nightingale’s song even sweeter with a note of thanks to our presence.