lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

N is for Nightingale

This wonderful image of a nightingale singing at night was taken by Derek Thomas on Flikr.

Nightingale, derek thomas

The nightingale, although beautiful, is an unremarkable little bird, pale brown in colour.

It is seldom seen in the open, it is shy and tends to stay hidden in leafy trees and shrubbery.

A member of the thrush family, like all thrushes it sings beautifully.

However the male nightingale sings more sweetly than any other bird, and what is more has an extraordinary vocabulary of musicality – it never seems to repeat a phrase and its song is unpredictably gorgeous.

It also sings by day, and night, and because it is so quiet at night, its song seems even more mesmerising.

In the UK loss of habitat has meant falling numbers and the bird is now on the amber list for conservation.

The nightingale has been written about many times, forms the basis for myths, is mentioned in Homer’s The Odyssey and has been the subject of more admiring poems than any other bird since.

I am adding to that number – here is my nightingale poem below:




He is shaped

to sing,

beak and eyes wide

in the colourless night,


his song flows

into the listening



each note

of unpredictable


with no sky

in which to lose itself,


rolls its lines

to wrap the silence

and hold the listener

captive in the darkness,


he never seems

to know which songs to sing,

so sings them all.


Poem © Liz Brownlee

Here is a short video of the nightingale’s song on Youtube by Paul Hindess:

Photo © Derek Thomas

Information from Wiki.

If you would like to blog-hop to the next A-Z Challenge blog, please click here.

If you’d like to read about or buy my book, Animal Magic, full of animal poems and fascinating facts, click here.


  1. I am so glad you posted a video of the bird singing its little heart out. Its voice is so beautiful


  2. Your last lines always get me. Beautiful.


    • Thanks, Ana, I’ve rewritten this poem about 100 times… still not quite happy, but relieved to know you like it!


  3. Ooo my favourite….
    and what a start,he was shaped to sing 🙂


  4. I love your poem… especially the notion of “unpredictable gorgeousness”… ❤
    Thanks for visiting my blog!
    Happy A to Z'ing!
    Writer In Transit

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, another cutie, a d such a beautiful voice.


    • It is beautiful. You have some gorgeous voices yourself though, i have heard.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I love the Willy Wag tail’s song, when he’s in my garden and singing I always call out “thank you Willy” for sharing his song, my family think Im nuts oh well!


  6. Beautiful poem! I love the last line – ‘sings them all.’ Much like how a writer must tell all their stories. Emily @ angelcat2014 from Sunny Side Up


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