Lo! and behold and hear!
Hearken to his song!
Out come the nightingales,
right about the guns.
Presently a misty moon came up,
a nightingale began to sing…
It was strange to stand there and listen,
for the song seemed to come
all the more sweetly and clearly
in the quiet intervals between
the firing. There was something
infinitely sweet and sad about it,
as if the countryside
were singing gently to itself,
in the midst of all our noise
and confusion and muddy work;
so that you felt the nightingale’s song
was the only real thing
which would remain when all the rest
was long past and forgotten.
Gradually the night wore on,
until day began to break,
and I could see clearly the daisies
in the long grass about my feet.
(From a letter from the Western Front, 1915.)