Les Derbyshire

Gecko - Poem by Les Derbyshire

This poem was inspired by my time spent in the Philippines.

Look! The builders have playfully sculpted a gecko
In the plaster.
There - high up on the wall.

Knowing how we love to watch them
In the evening
While we sip our red wine
One craftsman
Had generously gifted us his skill.

In the soft light of the lamp
In the heat of the tropical evening
I study the exquisite creature
While the sounds of the plantation night
Drift in on the still air
Across the open veranda.
Near-pink, scaly-smooth skin;
Unblinking glass-marble eyes;
Minutely fashioned feet -
The sucker-toes one with the wall.

But the gaudy butterfly is not fooled!
A split-second away from her inanimate nemesis
She flirts and flaunts herself
Drawn by his stillness
She settles
And watches.
And I watch.
Mesmerised by the stillness
I watch.
Even the sounds of the night are hushed
As though in anticipation;
An audience on the edge of a drama,
We wait.

They wait because they expect a drama:
The lightening flash that will pierce the foolish insect.
The ending that they have witnessed so many times.
But me? Why do I sit transfixed,
Like them, holding my breath
When I know.
This object of the craftsman's skill,
Motionless there on the wall.

And then
So slowly
He lifts
One plaster-pink foot
And moves.

(© Les Derbyshire February 2009)

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, March 14, 2009

Poem Edited: Thursday, April 2, 2009

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