Where sits that limpid singer
I can hear and seldom see
behind his screen of leaves
this glad morning in May?

He stuns the other birds
to silence with bold notes
that drop in wonder from his throat
in hedge and undergrowth.

Where is he? I can't find him
but I hear, I hear, I hear
the song of joy he weaves -
it clatters down the streets.

Men sit like him and sing
before their looms when morning
comes and from good thread spin
long-lasting linseed-cloth.

The weaver sings, his frame shudders,
the shuttle keeps the beat,
the loom drones and the spools
move drawling through the woof.

So he sits in sultry Summer
and stretches his proud thread
of many colours on
the weaver's frame of leaves.

What is he? man or beast, joy
or sweet delight, a vessel
of incense where angels' hands
invisible burn many scents.

What is he? A clockwork toy
of fine teeth, fierce strings and
and a dapper mouth all wrapped
in speech that sounds like gold.

He is… what I can't reach,
a spark of fire, a message
from roofs much higher
than the boldest roofs of men.

Listen! Slow and loud
and lovely, a life, a zest
that sounds as from the depths
of a thousand organ-mouths.

Now piping fine, now screaming
loud it dribbles from his throat
like waterbubbles rattling
down the roof's thatched coat.

And now his rhythm bounces
off each note - long necklaces
of pearls gone dancing off
their strings on marble sound.

A master of his voice
he knows to counterfeit
the lilt, the manner and
the sweep of each bird's speech.

An old man knows no envy:
let him take the prize of song,
bird or beauty, and steal
the poet's crown from me.

For who will understand
and treasure the riches
it holds, the marvel-tale
of the sovereign nightingale.

About Guido Gezelle

Guido Pieter Theodorus Josephus Gezelle (May 1, 1830 - November 27, 1899) was an influential Dutch language writer and poet and a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium. He was born in Bruges in the province of West Flanders, where he also spent most of his life. He was ordained a priest in 1854, and worked as a teacher and priest in Roeselare. He was always interested in all things in English and was given the prestigious right of being the priest for the 'English Convent' in Bruges. He died there in a small room, where it is still forbidden to... Read more...

Poet of the day

Akhtar ul Iman (Urdu: اختر الایمان) was a noted Urdu poet and screenwriter in Hindi cinema, who had major influence on modern Urdu nazm.

He won the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue in 1963 for Dharmputra and 1966 for Waqt. He was awarded the 1962 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu,...

Poem of the day

Gud Hellig-Aand! i Tro os lær
Vor Frelser-Mand alene
Af Hjertet ret at have kiær,
Og Hannem saa at tjene,
At vi fra Dødens Grumhed maae
I Herrens Liv den Redning faae,
Hans Død os dyrt fortjende!

Giv, at din sunde Lærdoms Kraft