A Dream of Nightingales

(1992)
"A Dream of Nightingales" is a song with music by Ned Rorem and poetry by David Bergman.  The song is included in the AIDS Quilt Songbook.
A Dream of Nightingales
In memory of Jerry Thompson

The Friday before your funeral I taught
Keats to my sophomore class. Little did they
care for the truth of beauty or the grace of truth,
but his being "half in love with easeful death"
penetrated through the smugness of youth,
and I thought of you drawing me to the rear
window one early spring to hear the rapture
a bird hidden among the flowering pear.

You held your cat tight so that he could not scare
off such music as hadn't been heard all winter.
When you flew south to escape the arctic blast
and home again heard that darkwinged creature sing,
tell me, did he then reveal himself at last
as you believed he'd be -- pure and beckoning?

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