lockdown sparrows

A pantoum inspired by a recent news article on how birdsong in cities changed during lockdown: ‘while it might have seemed to human ears that bird song got louder, the sparrows actually sang more quietly’. Recordings showed that what had increased was not the volume but the quality of their song…

To us, it seemed a louder sound.
Perhaps we hadn’t heard this song for years
when things went quiet all around
for this: a softer tune for other ears.

Perhaps we hadn’t heard this song for years
we felt a change but could not tell.
For this, a softer tune for other ears,
perhaps they’d never sung so well.

We felt a change but could not tell
the difference in their whistles and their trills.
Perhaps they’d never sung so well:
their lower, sweeter tunes now reached the hills.

The difference in their whistles and their trills?
When things went quiet all around
their lower, sweeter tunes now reached the hills.
To us, it seemed a louder sound.

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