Nightingale

Prompt logo - Flashback Track Friday

This is my response to the earlier Flashback Track Friday prompt. Fancied some music today… eventually!


This fresh-faced boy, the new addition,
Invisible, no bode,
But golden voice betrayed the gift,
With which he’d been bestowed..

This crystal-clear soprano,
A voice of honey, sweet,
From bud to fragrant beauty,
With talent he’s replete

A malleable infant,
A songbird to perform,
His pitch might be an angel’s
In holy uniform.

Uneasy moments followed,
Not caring to belong,
With such abundant talent,
What needs had he beyond?

A voice he took for granted,
No inkling of the worth,
Just something that came natural,
A talent had since birth.

Brilliant prompt, KK. I would never otherwise have even thought of this. I have found this with FBTF – that was why I jumped at the chance to get involved. It has me looking in crevices that I had long since forgotten even existed.

I was about eight or nine, and the music teacher at school announced that the local church was looking for new recruits to its choir. I have no idea why, but along with a couple of others, I stepped forward. Within a few weeks, I was the most junior member of the choir at St David, Childwall.

I stuck with it. From this timid creature to start with, I rose gradually through the choir, made a place for myself. I never really appreciated the talent I had, but in hindsight, I must have been good. When the local churches banded together for some event, as they did frequently, I was the one who sang solo. I was embarrassed by this – this ability set me apart when I just wanted to be a part of the crew. There was jealousy from other boys, but looking back I did not help myself. I knew I was talented, I was conceited, I must have been a nightmare to work with. But that’s part of growing up, no? The realisation that we are not the centre of the universe? Bear in mind, I’m probably talking about a twelve-year-old boy here.

I started attending soccer matches. Shouting, chanting, not caring about my voice. As it was breaking by then, I cared even less. And, to my shame, there are no recordings of my voice. I know that this disappointed my parents, especially. I remember wiping over one cassette, not long after leaving the choir. Again, no appreciation of the precious gift I once had.

My experience in that church was very formative, I ended up walking away, extremely disillusioned, and my experiences were the seed for many of the views that I hold today – not views on religion, per se, but more specifically churches. I posted on this here, if you would like to read, but today I wish to confine myself to the music.

So, I lastly wanted to present some music today. It is a solo I once performed, although the version you hear is not me. Not just me, but quite universally, this is a challenge among challenges. . You’re straight in, at the very top of the range, you have to hit that top note clear as a bell, no run-up.

I do wonder, now, just how good I was. I know I took my talent for granted, but I guess we’ll never know how much of it I actually had. But I stood there and performed this piece, to an audience of hundreds. Possibly not as well as this recording, but it can’t have been that far short. That’s how good I must have been.

The whole piece is just over 4 minutes.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

7 thoughts on “Nightingale”

  1. The poem sets the mood and then your prose is in harmony. I imagine you can still create a beautiful sound when trying to even if it’s not what it was or doesn’t seem as special. That kind of innate trait rises from within despite any circumstances. I enjoyed imagining you singing this incredible piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a boy, the thing about my voice really was that it was strong. After it broke, passable but not brilliant. Since the stroke it is weak, I can sing a few notes and then it dries up.
      Why is it that women especially seem to enjoy imagining me as a little choirboy? But thanks – I think.
      I like how your prompts tease this stuff out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is interesting Mr B, because I have an almost exactly opposite experience. When I was eleven, our school music teacher gave the whole class an individual singing assessment. She played a note on the piano and we had to sing that note, the note above it and the note below it. She then gave the pupils a mark out of ten. When she got to me, my singing was so bad that she gave me nought out of ten! The next lowest mark in the class was five. Now this is where she gets really cruel: she said that for the next three months the class were going to practice for the school carol concert, but all those who scored nought (me!) would have to practice miming. And that’s what I did for three bloody months. It really affected my confidence, and I can see the funny side of it now, but even after fifty five years, it still hurts. A lesson in how not to encourage children and get the best out of them. I really hated that teacher.
    BTW sorry about the rant, I enjoyed your poem!

    Liked by 1 person

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