Today's poem is by Richard Dankleff

Flute Song

'Twas a curious fact that when Judge Russell played
his flute at night, his horses came and stood
on the cabin porch. When the music soared they paid
such careful heed they seemed to gauge the mood
and quality of tone. Clear nights, wet nights they stayed
and stamped a few times when an extra good
sustained diminuendo that would fade
and seem forever lost (the flute might brood,
as if the Judge were sorry or afraid)
came flowing back crescendo in a flood
of notes as bold as warblers trill when shade
or leaves conceal the singer. Soft or loud,
the Judge's hermit-thrush arpeggios could pervade
so tenderly the Cascade solitude
that daybirds, wakened, may have long delayed
to sleep again (they were so sweetly wooed)
and ghosts of ladies may have tried to wade
the deep horse-pasture creek but, baffled, cooed
forlorn cadenzas back across the glade.
Seldom did a nicker or stamp intrude
upon the solo flute. And the nags obeyed
a strict decorum. When nature called, they would
walk off a decent way and stand; they made
even those tail-high interludes
slow and stately, in deference to the serenade.

                                        from Westerns

Copyright © 2006 Richard Dankleff All rights reserved
from Northwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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