The voice insisted he throw the first away,
the one that appeared straight out of the blue
as he sat immersed in random qualia,
near sleep on a train to Waterloo.
Back home, he warmed to the task and began
making adjustments and changing rhythms,
tinkering away and teasing out a story
that anyone could follow, more or less.
The third time round there was little impetus
and too much uncertainty. Without a voice,
none of the tricks he could muster counted;
it ended up crumpled, consigned to the bin.
Then after a week, the serendipity
of snow in a glass globe dragged him back
to the fray. The voice was loud and clear:
knuckle down, be strong and act without fear.
Of course, in the morning, all bets were off.
The field of play was strewn with clues
and intimate allusions, yet stubbornly stayed
angular and awkward, a fraction out of kilter.
A walk on the beach, he decided, but then
caught himself in the rearview mirror.
Of course, he thought: distance and reflection.
He sighed with relief and selected a station
playing Beethoven’s Sixth, and sat listening.
A few subtle shifts, some delicate tweaks, and
That’s it, he exclaimed, to no one in particular.
I reckon there’s nothing left over to say.
Or so it seemed, until the following day…
from Blue Rivers (Plumstead: Snailpress/Crane River, 2011).