It is strange to be awakened by sirens in the distance, cutting through my second awakening of the night. I am rested enough to appreciate that strangeness and not make it anything but the town taking care of itself.
Besides, it’s almost Sunday morning. I can be up for a while. I want some light thoughts to lull me back to sleep, so I pick up a book of poetry written a while back by Billy Collins.
This is a part of a poem I found:
“No, it was the Sensational Nightingales
who happened to be singing on the gospel station early that Sunday morning and must be credited with
the bumping up of my spirit,
the arousal of the mice within.
I have always loved this harmony,
like four, sometimes five trains running
side by side over a contoured landscape,
wildflowers growing along the silver tracks,
lace tablecloths covering the hills,
the men and women in white shirts and dresses
walking in the direction of a tall steeple.
Sunday morning in a perfect Georgia.
But I am not here to describe the sound
of the falsetto whine, sepulchral bass,
alto and tenor fitted snugly in between;
only to witness my own minor ascension
that morning as they sang, so parallel,
about the usual themes,
the garden of suffering,
the beads of blood on the forehead,
the stone before the hillside tomb,
and the ancient rolling waters
we would all have to cross some day.
God bless the Sensational Nightingales,
I thought as I turned up the volume,
God bless their families and their powder blue suits.
They are a far cry from the quiet kneeling
I was raised with,
a far, hand-clapping cry from the candles
that glowed in the alcoves
and the fixed eyes of saints staring down from their corners.
Oh, my cap was on straight that Sunday morning
and I was fine keeping the car on the road.
No one would ever have guessed
I was being lifted into the air by nightingales,
hoisted by their beaks like a long banner
that curls across an empty blue sky,
caught up in the annunciation
of these high, most encouraging tidings.”
……….BILLY COLLINS, from a poem entitled Sunday Morning with the Sensational Nightingales, and the book is Sailing Around the Room, 2001.
Oh, there it is, what I was really after. In the last line of so many lines, the words that can carry me through this election time, aggravated by possible high winds and flooding, showed up:
“high, most encouraging tidings”.
That’s what wakes me up and keeps me going.
always with love,