Someone is speaking – David Calcutt

Someone is speaking

Someone is speaking out of the willow.
It’s a voice that doesn’t quite fit, a thin,
loose, high-pitched rattle, like a cough
that won’t clear. Others on the lake are
testing their instruments, trying them for size,
pumping, wheezing, shaking them free of
weed and grit. Squeezebox voices that grate
the nerves of the still-sleeping inhabitants
of bank and ditch, making them uneasy,
bringing bad dreams. Something stirring
down there in its bed of thick mud, something
poking about among the boatwrecks and
drownings, something unsettling that clouds
the water with an old longing, an ache that
can’t be eased. Rat’s face, hooked jaw,
the endless, empty, gaping throat. But still
that voice from the willow goes on, hesitant,
but more persistent now, like an attempt
at good fortune against all the odds, and
its notes strike a spark on the hard flint of
the water, shooting a thin line of flame across,
and somehow it lifts, and somehow it takes off,
with a cry like pain, and big wings thumping
towards the hard-won flight.


David Calcutt is a playwright, poet and fiction writer, the author of many plays for theatre and radio, five books of poetry and four novels for young people. His latest poetry collection is “The last of the light is not the last of the light” published by Fair Acre Press. He is currently working on two new plays with Midland Actors Theatre.

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