I recognised you from your song
long before I saw you in the apple tree.
Each day a cycle of clicks, twangs, bell-notes,
and chuckles. No mate flew to your trembling
throat. On the sixth day I saw you flit from branch
to branch in the shadow of leaves, then you were
gone – but your endless song brought me back
to praise you again and again.
Alchemist from Africa! Your gold
is quick-silvery song – your name –
our way of transmutation –
of speaking in tongues.
Note: Nightingale: Obviously ‘nightsinger’ but Gala also from Old Norse meaning song, merriment, yell, of air. In my poem I’ve alluded to the musicality of the nightingale’s song and the evolution of language.