Flash Fiction: Nightingaling

This week, @EspineuxAlpha gave me the prompt “nightingale”. My first thought was the Vera Lynn song “A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square” which led to thoughts of Good Omens. Other related reading came to mind then. Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose; Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale; Keats’ poem Ode to a Nightingale, and Shakespeare’s Juliet trying to convince Romeo to stay in their marriage bed by pretending the songbird they hear is not the lark. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s reference I had to look up, but it was a fit too, and so here we have a brief poem about the busy nightingale’s poetic versatility.

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In Wilde, a nightingale dies for love
to stain a white rose red
Though a graceless student’s graceless love
is colder than the dead.

Hans Christian told a songbird’s tale –
She revived a dying king!
While Keats’ “light-winged Dryad” is
another death-defying thing

Bysshe Shelley’s nightingale is
a poet singing in the dark
Juliet insists that Romeo hears
a nightingale, not the lark

And presiding over angels who
Personify love and hope
In Berkeley Square a nightingale
Sings while they elope

We make of her a symbol
For our triumph and our failing
And oblivious, this sweet songbird
Goes on just nightingaling.