(new re-mix from the recording found on Missive #30.)
~~~~~The Fable of the Nightingale ~~~~~
"In olden times the Nightingale never sang at night—from spring through summer he rather sang from morning ‘til night, awakening noisily in the grey-blue dawn along with his friends, and frightening the cockchafers sleeping cozy under the lilac leaves.
He fell to sleep in the flowering vines at seven or half past and slept the whole night through.
But one summer night, the nightingale slept on an especially youthful branch and during his sleep the horns of the vine, tenacious tendrils grew so thick and so fast that he awoke tied up with entangled legs and helpless wings. Afraid for his life, he struggled in the trap, narrowly escaping by a thin stretch of strength.
Since then all through the spring and summer he swears to sleep no more as long as the tendrils grow. At night he sings keeping himself awake, altering themes in jeweled threads of variation, at times panting desperate, intoxicated. We hear him and ache to see him singing
I have seen the nightingale
Singing in the moonlight
Free, the nightingale
Did not know that upon him I spied
He interrupts himself at times,
His head inclined
as if he’s listening
Within himself to the length
Of a note that’s died down
Then swelling up his throat
He takes his song again
With all his might
His head thrown back
The picture of amorous despair
He sings just to sing
He sings such lovely things
That he does not know
Anymore what it was
That they were meant to say
But I can still hear through
The melancholy notes
The piping of a flute
The quivering, crystalline trills
In clear vigorous cries
I can still hear the first
Innocent and frightened
Song of the nightingale
The tendrils of the vine
These Brittle, stubborn vines have bound me. I have slept unaware, drowsed in thoughtless slumber. Then startled in fright, I broke all these twisted threads held to my flesh.
When the torpor of the night weighs upon my lids I fear the tendrils of the vine and revolt in loud defiance. Unbinding my voice, I awake in the night and look to the sad morning star. To keep from sleep I listen to the sound of my own voice. At times howl loud those things by custom kept inside; then whisper low, afraid of my own exclamations.
I want to cry out all the things I know; all that I suppose; everything I imagine; all that enchants, hurts and surprises me...
...But there is always—near the edge of the humming dawn—a cool hand that settles on my mouth, quelling my ecstatic tongue; and I return to the soft sounds of childlike incantations.
I no longer know a happy sleep,
yet I no longer fear the tendrils of the vine."
[Fable of the Nightingale from ‘Les Vrilles de la Vigne’ by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873 –1954), translated/adapted by B’ee for In Gowan Ring]