The nightingale is not, alas, native to the United States. Thus, its sound is something that we can only imagine, or experience vicariously through the wonder of the Internet. In the following poem, Wallace Stevens considers the nightingale's absence, an absence that is heightened by its recurrent presence in English poetry. Commentators on the poem suggest that Stevens is referring to Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale."
The skreak and skritter of evening gone
And grackles gone and sorrows of the sun,
The sorrows of sun, too, gone . . . the moon and moon,
The yellow moon of words about the nightingale
In measureless measures, not a bird for me
But the name of a bird and the name of a nameless air
I have never -- shall never hear. And yet beneath
The stillness of everything gone, and being still,
Being and sitting still, something resides,
Some skreaking and skrittering residuum,
And grates these evasions of the nightingale
Though I have never -- shall never hear that bird.
And the stillness is in the key, all of it is,
The stillness is all in the key of that desolate sound.
Wallace Stevens, Ideas of Order (1936).
The latter part of the poem is dominated by the repetition of "still" and "stillness": "And yet beneath/The stillness of everything gone, and being still,/Being and sitting still, something resides . . . And the stillness is in the key, all of it is,/The stillness is all in the key of that desolate sound." Despite its changefulness, autumn can be the stillest time of the year. Like a great pause.
When it comes to nightingales, Keats's "Ode" is too ornate for my taste. I prefer these lines by Christina Rossetti, which come from her poem "Twilight Calm":
Hark! that's the nightingale,
Telling the selfsame tale
Her song told when this ancient earth was young:
So echoes answered when her song was sung
In the first wooded vale.
We call it love and pain
The passion of her strain;
And yet we little understand or know:
Why should it not be rather joy that so
Throbs in each throbbing vein?
Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862).