Poem introduction

from The Luthier

In the White

"In the White"

And so it hangs there in the warmth and light
Unvarnished (luthier call it "in the white")
Silent, aware, responsive, listening -
For Wood, you tell us, is a living thing
Receiving by some sense acute and true
The fall of dusk, the sound of forming dew.
Footsteps and laughter, cry of bird and child,
Rain, thunder, wind - all gentle notes or wild
Absorbed, transmuted and at last set free
By string and bow in limpid melody.
And so we leave it latent until Spring
In warmth and silence, waiting, listening.


from The Luthier: poems (Reed, 1966), © Ruth Gilbert 1966, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Waiata New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 1974.

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