Treasure Island

Colin Thiele

(1920-2006)

Bird in the Classroom


The students drowsed and drowned
in the Teacher's ponderous monotone -
limp bodies loping in the wordy heat,
melted and run together, desk and flesh as one.
swooning and swimming in a sea of drone.

Each one asleep, swayed and vaguely drifted
with lidded eyes and lolling weighted heads,
were caught on heavy waves and dimly lifted,
sunk slowly, ears ringing in the syrup of his sound,

or borne from the room on a heaving wilderness of beds.
And then on a sudden, a bird's cool voice
punched out song. Crisp and spare
on the startled air,

beak-beamed
or idly tossed,
each note gleamed
like a bead of frost.

A bird's cool voice from a neighbour's tree
with five clear calls - mere grains of sound
rare and neat
repeated twice
but they sprang from the heat
like drops of ice.

Ears cocked, before the comment ran
fading and chuckling where a wattle stirred,
the students wondered how they could have heard
such dreary monotone from a man, and
such wisdom from a bird.

Submitted: Saturday, July 05, 2014

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