The Flute

The Flute

from the far reaches
of enfolded time
the sound
of the flute
has come down to us

whether from the
dark mystery of woods
from moorland
river banks
or the murmuring of streams

it is a solitary sound
the sound of tears
and heartbreak
of love
and of laughter

what other instrument
can better emulate
the voice at dusk
of calling birds
or the belling
of curlews from
lonely places

and now my home
to your fluting
note by
trembling note

as you draw aside
for me
the curtains
of your

- – - – cameron – - – -

3 Responses to The Flute

  1. Daffni says:

    Lovely. And reads well in spite of no punctuation because of clever use of line breaks.

  2. JohnLott says:

    I kept coming back to this. Especially now, to understand what Daffni has seen.
    It is inegmatic.
    When I read it, I am not that fond of it, the cadence is not there. It is somewhat staccato.
    But when I talk it, putting in my own line endings it becomes musical.

    I wonder why the poet shaped it so?


  3. Tony French says:

    Why the shape? Well, I failed (technically) to reproduce the exact shape when putting this here. The first 3 stanzas the poet centred, as here. In the next, he had the start of successive lines gradually cross the page (so ‘of curlews from/lonely places’ is not shown accurately). Then the line ‘trembling note’ was more to the right – whether by chance or to reflect trembling, I don’t know. Then in the final stanza, the lines were not centred, but successive lines started 2,3 or 4 extra characters to the right – perhaps reflecting a falling, fading note of a flute. Nigel Cameron more often than not centred his poems, and ‘shaped’ some verses… take this example of a stanza from ‘MUSIC and the MUSE’ (his capitals). Image each of these lines being indented some 6 characters more than the previous line – the shape echoing the flow of water and of music: in a shower of music/awash with notes/or drown/in the torrent/of a sounding/waterfall