The Kite

Today I watched a boy fly his kite.
It didn’t crackle in the wind – but
gave out a barely perceptible hum.
At a certain height, I’d swear I heard
it sing. He could make it climb in
any wind; could crank those angles up,
make it veer with the precision of
an insect targeting a sting; then he’d
let it roil in rapturous finesse, a tiny
bird in mid-air courtship. When
lightning cracked across the cliff –
(like quick pale flicks of yak-hair
fly-whisks) – he stayed steady. For
so long he kept his arms up, as if
he knew he’d hoist that kite enough.
I asked if it was made of special silk,
if he used some particular string –
and what he’d heard while holding it.
He looked at me from a distance,
then asked about my alms bowl,
my robes, and about that for which
a monk lives. It was then I saw
I could tell him nothing in the cohort
wind, that didn’t sound illusory.

Judith Beveridge, “The Kite” text from Wolf Notes, Giramondo Publishing, 2003; audio from Cut By Stars, Audio CD, 2007, by permission of River Road Press and the poet. Copyright © 2003, 2007 by Judith Beveridge.
Source: Wolf Notes (Giramondo, 2003)
More Poems by Judith Beveridge