The Sound of Glass, Breaking

10 June 2019

By Philip Kuepper

Just as dawn broke,
the only sound was something not visible
breaking the surface of the river.
I assumed a fish
drawn there by a water bug.
Then a lone bird warbled,
and opened the day
to a symphony of sounds,
bird after bird being
touched to song
as the light touched the breast of each one.

A swan landed,
slid to a liquid
stop in a ruffle
of froth.

A heartbeat later
a limb of an elm
snapped and fell
on the far bank.

A jay flew up,
incensed!,
at the disturbance.
A gull laughed.

Wood thumped, muffled, against wood,
an oar against the side of a boat.
Then a plash.
The blade touched water,
like a spatula folding batter.
The boat rowed away
until the sound of it faded
into the distance.

The birds, as one, fell silent,
as though, suddenly, unplugged.
And the only sound remaining
was the sound I sensed
of light breaking, like glass,
against the river’s surface.

(25 May 2019)

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