Desert Birdsong

Hikari Oe

is a Japanese composer who has autism. He is the son of Japanese author Kenzaburo Ōe.
It has been said that Ōe was walking with his parents near his house and heard a bird calling. He imitated the call with great precision. His parents were fascinated. They bought him tracks of bird calls, which he learned. This was how they got the idea to recruit a music teacher for Ōe.

(Previous post on Hikari Oe and his father Kenzaburo Oe)

He doesn’t know the world at all
Who stays in his nest and doesn’t go out.
He doesn’t know what birds know best
Nor what I want to sing about,
That the world is full of loveliness.

When dewdrops sparkle in the grass
And earth’s aflood with morning light,
A blackbird sings upon a bush
To greet the dawning after night.
Then I know how fine it is to live.

Hey, try to open up your heart
To beauty; go to the woods someday
And weave a wreath of memory there.
Then if tears obscure your way
You’ll know how wonderful it is
To be alive.

Anonymous Child
Written in Terezin Concentration Camp

  • Getting around links one for identifying bird songs, two for images, three for reading, four for more reading.
    Update: A slideshow – A Paradise of Birds in Belize (with great images and sound effect)