I AM A NIGHTINGALE

I am a nightingale. I’m fairly certain. I enjoy singing, and when I sing, it’s generally dark out.

I lived in the city for the first year, but it was so noisy. I had to sing twice as loud, for anyone to hear. It’s an improvement, the country. The air is better. Thicker. More trees. Nice, thick bushes. I live in a bush behind Børglum Abbey. It’s pretty nice, as far as bushes go.

Monks are a peculiar species. Their song is melancholy. Brother Geestvaas walked over a cliff. Brother Godslee stopped eating. He shrunk down to the size of a child. The brothers carried him outside, and threw him in the sea. But … it didn’t revive him.

They aren’t like the city men, always moving, too busy to wonder whether they’re happy or not. They are still and sad. Like hurt birds.

Men who I assume are poets often point me out, or sit watching me, their pencils quivering. I’m not sure about this. I give them my best songs. They write them out; they sign their names, under them. And they walk away.

I watch them all summer, growing cold. When I grow too cold, I fly south and west, with other nightingales. The journey is so long. So many of us grow tired, and fall down into the sea. I may one day fall down as well. It is so tempting, sometimes, when one’s wings are aching, to stop moving them. If only for a moment.

The Warm Country is so warm, it’s punishment. There is no joy there. I begin to long for the abbey, the cool nights, and the sad men.

If this is life, the life of a nightingale, I’m not sure I enjoy it. I’m not sure I care to experience it, any longer.

But there is always the chance … I may not be a nightingale, after all.

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