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Monday, January 18, 2016

What the Nightingale Sings


The nightingale sings to us a beautiful song.
He does not know he does but he does. He does not
sing a beautiful song to other nightingales.
To them he sings desire
or threat. To the cat he sings
hunger. To the dog--I can't tell.
Maybe nothing at all. I know
he does not sing at all
to the snake. To himself the nightingale sings
pleasure or need.  Beauty sings
in the ear, tied to the brain
configured to hear it.

And not just beauty, all the rest,
sound itself. Air exists and throats can rattle
but the tree that falls in the forest makes no sound
without an ear. Colors don’t exist without the eye.
Taste was invented by the tongue. All senses
enword; bestowing the useful illusion of sense
to the sensible nonsense of being.

So much of everything exists
only in our heads even when masses of people agree
on a name. Perhaps we should marvel less
on the great strides we have made unmasking the universe
than we humble ourselves on how much there is
our tongues cannot taste
or say
or even sing.

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