I AM A NIGHTINGALE

I am a nightingale. I am fairly certain. I enjoy singing, and generally sing in the evening.

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. I am not certain they heard me, even then.

It is an improvement, the country. The air is better. There are more trees. I live in a tree behind Børglum Abbey. A crooked, tree.

Monks are peculiar birds. 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 are not like the city men, always moving, too busy to wonder whether they are in their hearts content or not. They are still, and sad. Like hurt birds.

On occasion, men who I assume are poets point at me, or sit watching me, their pencils quivering. I am not sure about this. I give them my best songs. They write them out; they sign their names, beneath 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 is 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 am not sure I enjoy it. I am 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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