The Nightingale Express

How many springs is it now
that Tomeu pretends he has heard the first song?
And I dispute his word?
 
The trouble is
Tomeu is native
and I
a stranger with no such bird
in the land I knew.
 
But so strong is my wish
I cannot shake my faith:
 
There must be a wind to bring them
up from Africa – such small creatures
need the charity of a gale
to find the lemon tree
outside my window.
 
Listen:
you remember.
Last night only the draft of the woodstove
and the torrente in the bottom
inhabited the silence.
An abrupt squall
drowned the water sounds,
trees buffeting.
The shutters strained their latches
and then instant stillness fell.
 
Remember:
we both questioned the air
our eyes met
mouths round to wonder if…
 
In the renewed hush of pitch black morning
the notes at once rang the valley
like a glass bell declaring
after miles of sea
the joyful dominion of a thicket.
 
Tomeu of course, heard one last week.

Deya 1980

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