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This poem is taken from PN Review 227, Volume 42 Number 3, January - February 2016.

‘Waiting for the Nightingales’ and other poems Miles Burrows
Waiting for the Nightingales  

In Dewar’s Himalayan and Kashmiri Birds
Songs of different species are set down clearly:
Soft, mellow pee-ho (Indian oriole)
A loud pleasant call of three notes: think of me (grey headed flycatcher)
Loud, plaintive pee-you pee-you (Great Himalayan barbet)
Melodious wherefore-wherefore (Indian cuckoo)
Crescendo brain-fever, brain-fever, BRAIN-FEVER (large hawk-cuckoo)
A loud, shrill did he do it? Pity to do it! (red wattled lapwing).

And we can imagine the wandering major in the foothills
Mapping out the shifting frontier posts
Disguised perhaps as a fakir with a goatherd’s crook
Concealing measuring tape and theodolite
And no doubt thinking as brain fever descends on him,
About his own wife back in Hazelmere
With that awful car-salesman type.
...


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