Ode to a Nightingale

Hear the noble nightingale’s
sweet song
echo through the woods.
With lyric verses
she fulfills
her duty to her Maker.

In the whitened tent
of the world
she sings.
Her zeal and effort aimed 
so that God’s praise
rings out with clarity:

To you, you, you O highest refuge
I offer without words
my gratitude.
My endless longing is
to raise on high
your honour.

Every feather summons praise
and demonstrates
your gentle goodness.
Grant that, when my wings are raised,
gratitude will ring out clearly 
from my heart.

Every little worm I eat
is indeed
a gift of your sending.
Accept, before this meal, Sustainer, 
this praise offering
and refresh me, always.

Be praised from this branch
where I alit to rest
And not to praise you.
No! Yet your renown will always 
here and everywhere
be drawn forth from me.

You, lovely songstress, 
with your song
have awakened me:
I’ll sing only of God’s grace
at which I’m always 
totally amazed. 

Click here to read this poem in the original German.

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