Bohemian Rhapsody

“In the domain of music, birds have discovered everything.”

—Olivier Messiaen who frequently used birdsong in his compositions.

~ Tweet from Berliner Philharmoniker

there is no such thing as total silence
in the place where i live.
even if human tongues stop wagging,
i still hear birds outside the abode
chatting each other up.

do they in their secret language
tell each other of the availability
of food or of nesting materials?
what about love calls or a mother
searching for her young?

take this Bohemian waxwing
my brother’s tree provided home to.
i thought it would make a photogenic
souvenir of last winter’s visitation,
even make a suitable card
for Christmas this year

& then i hear its recorded sound
delicate as a harp playing an adagietto
movement in an orchestra.

verily, verily, let the birds teach us
what song is.


Elizabeth “Babeth” Lolarga
Elizabeth “Babeth” Lolarga
Elizabeth “Babeth” Lolarga finished journalism and fine arts at the University of the Philippines. She wrote two books released by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House: Catholic and Emancipated (selected essays) and Moon Hanging Low Over My Window and Other Poems. A freelance journalist, the pandemic has turned her into a homebody.


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