Poetry slider — 11 January 2015



Cathy Bryant

photo by DonKeyHotey


I heard it in the night, abroad

– a single ringing note, purer

than the usual breathy lisp of flutes.

It was a leaping new music,

a clapperless yet sounding bell,

direct from the soul of Apollo.


I imagined the flautist, an exotic bird,

fragrant with peach and lime feathers

forming the most luxurious tassels and trains;

or a nightingale, only brighter,

singing in shimmering ultramarine.


At dawn, as the mists took unhurried leave

and the trees began to steam in the sun,

I saw the flautist: a tiny frog

the size of my thumbnail

– a scrap of jade – a little living leaf.


I knew that this was better than the bird,

that here was show not tell.

I laughed aloud as that thought blew in.

The frog ignored me, playing on

until she had raised the whole of the sun.


(based on an incident from A.E.I. Falconar’s ‘Gardens of Meditation’)



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