Friday, January 25, 2013

The Listening of Wood and Wire

Celtic Harp
—Photo by Katy Brown

After a concert in Winters, California 1/20/2013
—Katy Brown, Davis

Don’t be fooled by the seeming stillness
of the harp on an empty stage.
Wood and wire listen—

register the splash of rain on winter glass,
the rush of wind in yellow oaks.
The harp resonates with every sound.

Time whispers through polished wires
echoes in the soundbox, moves like breath—
in harmony with the harper—alive.

From the highest tones, bright as sunlight
to the deepest chords that resonate in bone,
the instrument ensnares an unguarded listener.

The notes are the true voice of the harper:
the sound he hears when he dreams,
a dialect of enchantment and eternity.

When the harper rests against the soundbox, it is he
who is played by the visions reverberating inside.
The harp can seem as still as cobwebs in a branch,
until it casts a net of melody in the timbre of a heart.

—Photo by Katy Brown

—Katy Brown

A cloaked woman emerges from shadows,
holds a candle against the dark,
flees the tyranny of night.

Captive to a stronger arm,
submissive to a brutal will,
a cloaked woman runs from shadows
holding a candle against the night.

No matter the elegance of her chambers,
no matter the security of the walls,
this property belongs to someone else.
A cloaked woman emerges from the shadows,
a candle held against the night,
fleeing the tyranny of the coming dark.


—Katy Brown

They came at night in black-sailed boats
to steal the shining beauty that was Helen.
History belongs to those who win.

No one speaks of the under-side of war:
the whispered pledge, the distaff spy―
they slip away in black-sailed boats . . . 

No matter what the reasons, what the causes,
wars are measured in blood and ashes:
history is told by the winning side.

Battles begin with stealth and thunder,
so one side never expects the attack―
black-sailed boats riding tide and wind.

The history of war is written in bone,
measured in graves and sung by crows.
The writers of history measure loss―

they tell of glory and justify ends.
Old men stand by while young men die,
riding black-sailed boats into the night.
History remembers only those who win.

 —Photo by Katy Brown

 —Katy Brown

Creature from folklore—from myth,
it rises, circling in clear October sky—
dazzling wings carve shadows on the fields below.

Thunderbird, climbing toward the sun—
bright bands—lightning stripes
flaring out along its wings, flashing across its tail.

A young eagle soars toward autumn buttes
—a silhouette of legend on winds of power—
in a wild land, this modern thunderbird patrols the sky.

In a wild land, this modern thunderbird patrols the sky,
a silhouette of legend on winds of power:
a young eagle soars toward autumn buttes.

It rises, circling in clear October sky—
bright bands—lightning stripes,
creature from folklore—from myth.

Flaring out along its wings, flashing across its tail,
dazzling wings carve shadows on the fields below:
Thunderbird—climbing toward the sun . . . 
Today's LittleNip:

—Robert Herrick

In all thy need, be thou possest

Still with a well prepared breast;

Nor let the shackles make thee sad;

Thou canst but have what others had.

And this for comfort thou must know,

Times that are ill won't still be so:

Clouds will not ever pour down rain;

A sullen day will clear again.

First, peals of thunder we must hear;

When lutes and harps shall stroke the ear.


—Medusa, reminding you that Katy Brown and other artist/poets will be featured at Sacramento Writer's Brush at Sac. Poetry Center tomorrow night. Scroll down to the blue board at the right of this for details!

Harper Patrick Ball tunes up before
last Sunday night's concert in Winters
[Generally, a harper is one who plays
the Celtic harp, and a harpist is one
who plays the pedal harp.]
—Photo by Katy Brown