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The guardian of the evening screams.
His call of lust destroys my dreams.

The city warps his ancient song.
Its grinding noises ring out strong.
His throat bleeds as he chirps and clicks,
until he sings like snapping sticks.

The only nightingale around,
he sings to an indifferent crowd.
Heartbroken, he still slings his swill
all day, all night, a raucous trill.

I wish that I could give him peace
perhaps which comes from death's release
not least because each tweet and cheep
rings through my head, keeps me from sleep.

I feel unhinged, day after day.

I'll force this bird to go away!

With whispered glee I clasp the dart,
"With this, I'll tear the bird apart.
And if I miss, I'll try again.
That worthless bird must meet his end!"

So I set out twixt day and night.
I have the birdie in my sight.
I jam the blowdart in the tube
and bid insomnia adieu.

With one attempt, I shoot him down!
I let his corpse lie on the ground.
I sleep quite well - and then I hear
that awful squawking pierce my ears.

"Where are you now?" I cry in pain.
"Why are you on this mortal plane?
Demon, I'll murder you again!"
The volume doubles, triples, then -

a spectral form flies through the wall
repeating that infernal call.
Just when I can't take any more
a gravelly voice comes from the floor.

"The nightingale is worry-free.
Its song has changed; it's no less sweet.
You trembled at those dulcet tones,
but they brought joy to my old bones."

I want to flee, but I stay still,
Frozen in place against my will.
"Now you can only hear the world,
so hear the sweetness of the bird."

Now in the living room, I lie
invisible to mortal eyes.
I cannot see or move. It's clear
I've turned into a ghostly ear.

From time to time, the gravelly voice
explains it's offered me a choice:
to stay like this, or be set free
by claiming the bird's song is sweet.

Still in the end, it's for the best.
Eternal darkness lets me rest.
Perhaps I'll hear the bird so long
I'll find the beauty in his song.

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