Nocturne 10


Have you ever listened to the chorus of the night?

Ever heard the polyphonic concert of those flitting phantoms,

Those creepy, calming cracks and chirps just out of sight?

Have you ever heard those nocturnal hums,

Cascading through the heavy air of moonlight and delight?

You must be careful, quiet, open-eared and still to hear these strums.


The hollow haunting hoots of aloof, lost owls,

Hanging in the air like distant, tuneless clarinets and oboes,

Make up the sparse woodwinds of the fowls,

Pierced from time to time by the eery flutes and piccolos

Of dancing, diving screeching bats and birds in hidden hollows

In concordant cadenzas no modern man could compose.


While the peeping, chiming pizzicato of the crickets

Creeps into the pulsing base of this secret symphony,

Ringing out the timing from the still and endless thickets,

Adding to the paradox of this secret, silent, still cacophony

Of nocturnal sound and stillness, of nocturnal ticks

In that mysterious, imperceptible nocturnal harmony.


The scratchy, low, creepy choking croaking of the frogs

Act as the deep hum of the soft, melodic bassoons,

As they gather by the whispering, washing water on their hollow logs.

Somewhere off into distance something croons,

Its call rising to the melody like an English Horn within such trees and bogs,

Singing its array of enchanting and ethereal tunes.


Beneath the endless mysteries of that peerless sky,

As the chorus of the night croons, and creeks, and slowly speaks

About the stillness and the rustles slowly slinking by,

I feel my body sinking, thinking all about these simple squeaks,

Wondering why I'd ever wish to weep

When such a sound can bring such sweetly simple sleep.


"The three most celebrated doctors on the island have been to see me. One sniffed at what I spat, the second tapped where I spat from, and the third sounded me and listened as I spat. The first said I was dead, the second that I was dying and the third that I'm going to die."