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High on a bough beneath the moonlight paleThat over-rated bird the nightingaleSang and sang on. I thought my heart would breakAt first, to feel again that forlorn acheAcross the waste of history .- ."Wine, Red Wine!."Fitzgerald's Nightingale, with voice divine,Called out .- ."to stain my rose-love's pale cheeks red!."And Keats arose, among the wintry dead,And testifies, his sunken eyes ashine .-The song; dusk; dream; and oozy eglantine!

But these are dead and dumb. This is a fowlHatched from an ordinary egg. The owlLike generation owneth. The world wagsAnd from a pure tropism the small bird brags,His vocal cords to something in the airReacting, never of the spring aware,While still more passive, dumb and deaf and blindKeats and Fitzgerald slumber, clay-confined;Close-hugged by greedy earth, whose barren valesNurse for one Keats a billion nightingales.

© Caudwell Christopher