KATIE: THE NIGHTINGALE
for Katie Ketchum
The song of the nightingale comes in
shimmering in a bright soprano voice
as if having lived knowing the belly sounds.
The first few phrases are like that,
clear-crisp, like bells over snowfields
Not only are we observing the nightingale,
we are testing the air with wings.
The way the nightingale flies,
how we view the bird,
how it views itself: like a concerto
A cadenza of towering lines.
The melody drops out
and the deeper rhythm comes in
The heart of the bird.
Think of how snowy peaks mirror the sky,
purifying the foothills.
The multitudes of foothills
& the song of the nightingale are one.
How the dancer contracts, lifts up
defies gravity for a moment. Fermatta
Slatted light falls
into the eyes of the sun.
I believe, I believe said the bird migrating to Africa
where feathered black notes dress the snows of Killimanjaro.
We flurry over the arpeggio of leaves
to the night itself singing solo:
a concentration of notes on the upper spectrum.
Without legs, the piano wont resonate
or nest in the branches to lay small eggs.
Hatching in our ears, the harps children
direct us to the songlines; her voice,
an undercurrent of grace notes and rippling water.
A leaf caught in the wind
takes instruction from the flight of angels.
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Updated: January 25, 2001 (KB)
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