Reading Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale in California, March 31, 2020

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I.

Blithe nightingale, to this far shore unknown—
Who did so flit
In forest shadows knit
Of Lincoln green, in Keats’ day gone by—
Decorously, yet still as wild
As any bird could be in that domestic isle;

So sweetly singing ‘neath the rain-rinsed sky
And in the mottled shade of trees and sheepish clouds,
To conjure reminisces not my own—

Elusive creature! Present now,
Then, in one melancholy moment, gone;
Evocative, allusive and high-flown, eschewing crowds—
One glimpse of thee
I fain would see,
O bird most suitable for poetry!

II.

Here in California, meantime,
it’s the 21st century.
The crows and bluejays and us
have all been shoved
to the jagged edges
of the furthest continent from home.

Outside my door, I hear
the birds debating who’s
going to be the first
one up against the wall

come the revolution.

 

 

Image: Nightingale, licensed as free, including for commercial use; no attribution required (link). A bit for National Poetry Writing Month

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1 thought on “Reading Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale in California, March 31, 2020

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