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The Penny Whistler(revised)

by Maureen Glaude

On his rock
at the shoreline
his back to the morning sun
a lone musician
sits playing
a penny whistle

his breaths and fingers create
clear notes
trills and tremolos of his ritual lament
to ripple, across the waking woodlands
accompanying the landscape’s melody-makers:
yellow warbler, red-streaked oriole
and grey dove
who pipe in one by one at first
then build to crescendo in full ensemble

out on the Great Lake
a topsail catches beginning breezes
to carry its boat ’round the cove

with grief-greyed eyes
the penny whistler watches
for the woman
who sailed long ago
far beyond his harbour

her billowed cape
over whitecaps
marked the last fragment of her movement
into memory

his song
bleeds into the blue purple
of the mountain heather
mirrored in the water

but his closing notes
lift and rise to reach
the high pine ridge


Posted on 11/06/2003
Copyright © 2021 Maureen Glaude

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 11/10/03 at 05:38 PM

Sweet memories from yesterday's reading. Haunting, captivating poetic tale.

Posted by J. P. Davies on 04/08/04 at 07:11 PM

Some wonderful imagery in this. It's so sad. We have a busker here in Nanaimo who plays the penny whistle but he's obviously never studied music in his life. I feel like paying him to stop. He gives the rest of us buskers a bad name. But anyway I've gotten side tracked. I love the message and how the birds join in with his lament. You have conjured some wonderful images in my head. I'm nominating this for POTD :)

Posted by Mike Loftis on 09/12/04 at 02:52 AM

This is one of the best poems I've read on or off of Pathetic. FANTASTIC!!

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