Poem Review :: Ode on My Nightingale by Barbara Hamby

Barbara Hamby headshot

Guest Post by Aimee L.

The nightingale is often considered a songbird well known for its melodies that spur feelings of love and romance in people. It is a bird that symbolizes romanticism, which is something that Barbara Hamby’s “Ode on My Nightingale” captures. Hamby [pictured], like a nightingale, strings together a melody depicting the beauty and terror that nighttime brings—the broken dreams, regrets, the loneliness. But despite these quieter moments, she depicts a sense of wonder. “My nightingale is the conquistador of moonlight.” Reading this opening line, I felt reassured. I realized how life shines in the darkness—in the “derivative of sin,” as Hamby puts it. One passage, in particular, speaks to me: “…and I am your little god, / your drinking water straight from the stream, / for my song is spooling into the night forever / and ever, amen.” It’s a little magical.


Ode on My Nightingale” by Barbara Hamby. 32 Poems, Spring/Summer 2020.

Reviewer Bio: Aimee L. is a regular college student and aspiring “writer.”

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