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Thursday 13 January 2011


The above image was provided by Magpie Tales as this week's prompt.

Out of a wood
birds black as jet
one at a time
like beads on a string -
an invisible string -
like notes on a stave.

There must be a hand
a baton
a man
behind what I see
and sounds of a theme
I'm unable to hear.

It's deep in the woods -
double bass and all that -
but over the fields
they rise with eclat.
Then piccolos scatter.
Percussion of guns.

Each motif repeats
understated the change
the woodwinds take hold
(Well they would
would they not?),
clarinets and bassoons.

The high flying beats -
staccato of wings -
introduce a new thought
the woodpecker
pecks at
from out in the wings.

The clash of ideas
emotions and sounds
reaches crescendo
moves me to tears.
It's there in the score
for those who can't hear.

But even in silence
the brain can read sounds
and metaphors peep
through a forest of notes
whilst the birds of the air
sing our babies to sleep.


Kipling said...

If only more people would slow down and just listen!
There are Adagios waiting to be found everywhere.
Loved it, could here each subtle note and sound.

Helen said...

Dave, this is so beautiful. I began music lessons and the flute at the tender age of nine ... it's part of who I am. Your poem tells me music is also YOU.

CiCi said...

Oh, I love the first couple parts in particular. The clash of ideas is apropos in today's confusing and stormy atmosphere.

Dibakar Sarkar said...

Marvellous! Accept my kowtow.

Dick said...

This is great. I love those breathy little iambs driving the poem on, creating a sense of almost urgent rejoicing. Delightful.

Kass said...

I love this poem. I have a friend who literally can hear the music in her head while reading a score. High flying sounds, woodpeckers in the wings - there are so many things I love about this poem.

Unknown said...

Then piccolos scatter - FAB
It's the flautist in me :)

jinksy said...

Those last two verses are stunning...

The Weaver of Grass said...

I always think that rooks sitting on the electric wires look strangely like music, Dave. I once wrote a haiku:

Black crows on a wire
making black apreggios
in the morning sky.

Kat Mortensen said...

Love how you pulled out the symphony from that page of sheet music, Dave. Especially like the introspective questioning, "well they would, wouldn't they".

I have often thought the various bird calls of a morning make up their own small symphony. Your woodpecker features prominently.

Truly a feast for the ear in poetry!


P.S. I sent a rather forthright e-mail earlier in the week. I hope I didn't frighten you off.

Kat Mortensen said...

Almost forgot; my magpie is here: http://hyggedigter.blogspot.com/2011/01/magpie-48-beat-goes-on.html

Anonymous said...

WOW! Very nice, imaginative! What an awesome way with words. Thank you. Thanks for your visit and kind words as well. Have a lovely day! :)


Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

The high flying beats -
staccato of wings -
introduce a new thought
the woodpecker
pecks at
from out in the wings...

enjoyed every line of your poem,
vivid, sound, fun, and beautiful.

Maggie said...

Beautiful, beautiful.

JeannetteLS said...

Dave... Then piccolos scatter./Percussion of guns.

I can babble on about where each stanza goes for me, but I think the best I can say, and I feel it so often with your work--this, perhaps the most yet--the breadth of vocabulary from which you draw for imagery, the juxtaposition so often of beauty or seeming joy and something more complex and darker, the movement to a broader theme--Dave, your words make me tear up from beauty and pain, and they make me think. What on earth MORE could someone's poetry do? And often you also make me laugh outright. Your blog is a blessing to many of us. Thank you.

Suko said...

Incredible poem, full of imagery and emotion. (Next time, I may go back to poetry.)

Fantastic Forrest said...

LOVE your poem! You get extra points for using "eclat," a word that really should get more exercise.

Here's a bird-related treat for you in thanks:

Shadow said...

this comes about when we listen, just listen... lovely!

Raj said...

something one could read again and again and yet never fully understand unless truely felt. loved it.

and thank you for the comment on my blog, it sort of touched a chord somewhere.

David Cranmer said...

Another fine piece of work, Dave.

Doctor FTSE said...

Good work, David.
(I remember our eldest stomping home from her first piano lesson, 9 years old, "I know what notes are! I don't need to be told they're like birdies perched on the phone wires!") Out of the mouths of babes . . .

Dave King said...

Welcome. Good to have you commenting. Such a true comment, too. Absolutely.

Thank you so much for a very kind comment.

It's always interesting - and often very useful - to hear what strikes others, so much gratitude for your comments.

Thank you. Both you and your kowtow are most welcome!

Thanks for a really cheering comment.

Thanks Kass - it must be great to have your friend's ability. I am very envious.

Gwei Mui
Lovely comment. Thank you.

My grateful thanks.

Weaver of Grass
I, too, have often had that thought. I have never done an ything with it, though, until now. The haiku is a real corker, I think.

I agree with you completely about the morning bird calls. They do often sound, I think, as though there's someone conducting them!

Hi and welcome! Thanks for visitng and leaving such a lovely comment.

Thanks very much. The lines you have picked out are those I was most pleased with - so very gratifying.

thanks so much.

That is a really generous and lovely comment. Thank you for the time and care you must have put into it. I am humbled by your words.

Welcome and many thanks for the comment. I really am grateful for it.

Fantastic Forrest
Thanks for that. I agree with you that eclat is a very under-used word. Thanks also for the address which I shall follow up.

Indeed... thanks.

Thanks very much for that. You are right in putting feeling at the top of the understanding stakes.

Much thanks. Greatly appreciated.

Doctor FTSE
I love that story. It speaks volumes.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Even the deaf can hear music
on the mean streets, and midst
the canyons of big cities, but
only the poet musician can
walk in a wood and stand stone
still, poleaxed by the music,
the beauty, the art of being
a man alone doused in black
wings, those black notes alive,
soaring from pages within
and without, creating a great
amphitheater from the stuff
gods have left for us to tramp
about in, to dream in, and
then to set in the silence with
pen in hand, or hand to keys,
and let the symphony rip.
Wonderful piece!

Dave King said...

A warm welcome to you and a big thank you for the thrilling comment. Good to have you with us.

Lucy Westenra said...

A very satisfying read, David. Thanks for giving poets the opportunity.