In 1942 Beatrice Harrison, a concert cellist was being recorded by the BBC in her garden. As they were testing the sound they recorded a nightingale singing. Accidentally, Lancaster Bombers then flew over on a raid to Germany.
Listen to the recording here
The outcome was a juxtaposition of the beauty and peacefulness being broken by the menacing sound of planes on their way to bomb. The primary students were asked to write poems that described this and I think you will agree their work is quite remarkable.
Read the poems below and click on the link for the winning poem
The Nightingale’s Melody
The Nightingale sang his melody for me
On that summers eve
It was so true and pure
I could hardly breathe,
On that summers eve.
Soon came the sound of ear-splitting bombers,
On that summers eve
Which cast a cold shadow across my soul
But the nightingale still sang,
On that summers eve.
By Kelsey Chadwick
When the Nightingale Sang
One spring evening in nineteen forty-two,
A nightingale waited for the music he knew,
But no one had told the news to the bird,
The cello he loved must not be heard.
So on his own he sang in his sweetest tone,
Till the peace was shattered by a rumbling drone,
Of many planes eastward bound,
The nightingale’s beautiful song was almost drowned.
By Leanne Fellows
The Bomber and the Nightingale
I see in the sky a sluggish bomber,
Then all of a sudden without a comma,
It drops a bomb, a dreadful sound,
A sound that echoes all around.
Then I see, low down in the east,
A nightingale having a feast,
Then it sings with every bit of its might,
While in the distance the bombers dogfight.
By Charlie Shaw
The Sounds of Freedom
I stood in the garden alone,
The air still and cooling,
Perfumed by Peonies,
I hear a distant dog bark and a horse snuffling,
I hear the opening bars of a wonderful new song,
Sung by a world famous vocalist, the Nightingale arrives
Inspired, wild and free,
He sings his untamed melody,
Awed, I listen in wonder – and then I hear another sound,
An unnatural Merlin approaches,
A hunter against the hunted.
I think of that tin can hurtling through the sky
And its crew of young men,
I think of them trapped inside, shivering with fear, chilled, deafened,
The acrid stink of grease, oil, sweat, and Elsans,
They do their duty fighting to free the oppressed,
From the dictator,
So they can sing their own song of freedom.
The Nightingale will return next year to sing again,
But how many of those young men will return tonight…?
By Drew Harvey
A Cello, A Nightingale…Bombers!
I closed my eyes drifting in thought
The melodic beautiful sound –
The Nightingale as it sought,
To captivate me, spellbound.
He trilled up high, he warbled low
He danced lightly the path between
Skipping past, meandering slow
So magical was the scene.
My dreams were rudely interrupted,
Was it the honey bees swarming?
My cello stopped playing, disrupted –
It came from nowhere without warning.
The drumming sound was coming near
Reluctantly I opened my eyes,
To behold bombers; I froze with fear
Was it enemies or allies?
The peace was shattered, calm destroyed
Like an oil painting ripped apart.
Silencing all I had enjoyed,
Bringing pain to nature’s heart.
By Brontë Cooper
The Song of the Nightingale
Oh the blissful singing,
Relieving my worries,
It is so calm and relaxing,
Making me think,
The war has finally ended.
Oh dear now,
The song is getting me stressed,
Oh how can I relieve the stress?
If I could only wish,
Just one thing,
The war should end.
By Rhianna Hill
The Sound of the Bombers
I hear a roaring engine,
I look above
There I see Lancaster Bomber,
My loving friend,
Was near me when the bombers came across.
I had a lot of pain and discomfort,
And so did my friend,
I was very fortunate that I did not play my violin,
Because the crafty Lancaster Bomber fighters,
Would record my playing,
Then broadcast it around the world.
By Rhianna Hill
On that day in 1942,
The Nightingale sang its sweet song,
It lilted along the breeze,
The song so pure and long!
And then came the sound,
Droning and roaring,
You could hear from all around,
Leaving fumes and horror!
By Sienna Davey
Little nightingales singing away
As if it sounds like it wants to play
The beautiful song filled the air
As if it was singing to the mare.
The Lancaster Bombers roared overhead
As I was sleeping in my wooden bed.
The propellers whizzing around
As bombs dropped to the ground.
By Percy Wilson
The peace of a wartime garden,
Is broken by a bird.
Its beautiful tune, that ends so soon,
The loveliest I’ve ever heard.
But THEN drones overhead,
The protector in the skies.
Its powerful roar, like never before,
A majestic sight to the eyes.
By Miller Harvey
Juxtaposition on the Images of a Nightingale and Bombers
My ears twitch in the wind as the flute
Like melody drifts through the air.
The sweet odour of the beautiful surroundings:
As my body feels the warmth of the full notes
Harmonising perfectly with the picturesque image in my mind.
Suddenly the deathly boom
Strikes the earth in a whining pitch
The ghastly smell of terror thought the gas:
As my body shakes because of the cold
And the shattered image seeming historically distant.
By Max Simpson
Oh what a beauty
Is this bird,
And its song
Is the loveliest I’ve heard!
Oh what a contrast
Is this plane
And if you looked for differences
None of them would be the same.
Nightingale and Bomber
I hear a nightingale,
I feel so relaxed
As the nightingale
Sings its beautiful song.
I hear a bomber,
That shatters my peace
I hear a hum
As the bombers fly over.
Love and Hate
My nightingale song is full of grace
Every note is a different pace,
It can sing Alto, Soprano, but not quite base.
Now the bombers are flying over my land
Changing the song at every hand,
But the droning sounds like an out of tune band.
These sounds are strange when they combine
These sounds will never be in time,
Oh, for a song that sounds just fine.
My nightingale and the bombers…
By Zoe Chadwick
The Vivid Nightingale and the Troublesome Bombers
Feeling relaxed as the Nightingale sings.
A bright sensation it certainly brings.
Peacefulness comes about with our feathered friend.
A soft warm glow from back to tail-end.
Trouble emotions with the bomber come,
The eerie sound makes your insides so numb,
The rattling rumble and cold dense steel
Thoughts of war give a tense, uneasy feel.
By Art Swindell
Down in the meadow
Where sleeping animals lie,
The Nightingale stirs.
As the animals wake
Its voice sounds loud and clear
As if it were near.
The Nightingale’s voice changes note
As the droning of the bomber is heard.
They disturb the peace
As they appear on the scene
Polluting the clear blue sky.
By Lyall Harvey
The Nightingale Sings its Fame
I was practising my cello one evening,
As the birds settled down to sleep.
But one was awakening to sing its fame,
As it sang the birds did sleep.
As the camouflaged Nightingale started to perform
(What beauty was its song)
A sound of fear touched my ears,
Bombers in the sky did throng.
The whirring sound of the evil planes
Panicking humans to rush to shelters,
Those planes too wicked to be said!
By Kaye Lander