A single note

It begins with a single note.
A brief scribble on a bit of paper
a rarity in this electronic age.
You can’t read the handwriting
but you don’t care:
the music starts playing.
The note is followed
by others, black on white
stains of ink and sound
on the blank page.
The vast, unknown field
of untrodden words.
But it began with a single note.
A beat of the heart
A tick of the pen
Then the words start flowing
rushing through the snow-field
like blackbirds seeking seeds.
They shuffle among themselves
pecking at the ground
leaving tracks in the soil.
Then, as one, they lift off,
the sound of rushing wings
reminds you of the strings
that followed that single note.
But one stays behind
one single blackbird.
A full stop on the page
a comma in the field,
it pauses the track,
looking for that last germ
of something great, buried
deep beneath the leaves.
You leave it pecking
as you move away from the page;
the characters, the lines
left to their own lives.
And the music ends as it begins:
with a single note.

(Published on Poetry&Audience, summer 2011, vol. 46 n.1)

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