To A Nightingale

I was born in a soulless heart of a city:
Where mean streets wander in grey confusion.
I've watched men struggle without any pity
Or felt the need to help any man -
It was dog eat dog in my neighborhood,
No farmstead, bower or country lane,
No beast or bird or churchyard stood
To hide the shame of my own backyard.

Life had no beauty, but fear and sweat.
We held the line at the outermost ring,
And all about us was death and defeat.
We held the line as the others poured through
For a place on the crowded Dunkirk beach.
Their only thought was to get far away,
Out of the Stukka and Spandaus reach.
Out to this hell to Englands green shore.

Night had come and I lay on my back
In a silent, shell shocked, Belgian field.
In my mind and in my head I saw only black
When I heard a noise I could not believe.
It burst like a bomb on my aching brain,
Like a fountain sweet in an arid land
And it filled my empty soul again.
"The nightingale's back", a comrad said.

Can the call of a bird affect your life?
Can it show you the world isn't always grey?
It can, and it did in my world of strife.
It lifted me out of the trough of despair.
And when God calls, as He will quite soon,
My "lost chord" that I hope to hear
Is the nightingale's call neath a silver moon
That has kept me sane this many a year.

by Douglas Gird

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