Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Night Songs

This is a piece I wrote years ago. Definitely needs some editing, but as I don't have time right now, here it is in the raw.

In the middle of a particular forest rests a tiny pond guarded by shady oaks standing years of faithful watch. Reflections of dangling moss adorn her aging face like gaudy earrings. Willows bend and sway like uniformed school children nodding to the old watcher’s tales of all they’d seen come and go.

Night ushers in the audience of moon, stars, and bands of gypsy clouds to catch the evening show. Programs are never issued, as the bill of players is always the same. The creatures that go unnoticed during the normal course of day slip out of their bramble hovels to entertain those with ears to hear.

Crickets arrive first nestling in their dew-coated, grassy chairs; Katydids light on leafy platforms announcing the concert is ready to begin.

The maestro for the evening’s festivities is a squat-legged, bulging-eyed bullfrog named Cat Gut Slappy. Cat Gut diligently carries out his nightly duties as generations of Slappys before him have done. His ascension to the post of leader of the band had only recently taken place. His father, Razor Lips Slappy, had to pass on the mantle as the deep rich tones that once were his, were now more scratch and rattle, than clear and soothing. His reign over the woodland troupe had lasted longer than any of his predecessors. He had been credited with adding a jazzy flavor to the concerts, and after much haggling between the generations, it was accepted.

Razor Lips sits perched on the highest knee of a friendly oak on the far side of the pond so as not to distract from his son’s authority. He swells with pride, and blinks back tears from his sagging eyes, watching his son carry on the family tradition. No one knows how long the concerts have been taking place, but, it really doesn’t matter as the family of night creatures enjoys sharing their gifts of whistles, chirps, croaks and clicks. On nights when the moon is full, and her light bathes the entire community, he forgets himself, bellows out with a rush of air that reminds all around his time has past.

Cat Gut hops on the flat rock wallowed out by grandfathers, too many to remember, reverently placing his feet on the history of his ancestors. Silence blankets the arena like freshly fallen snow. As his eyes survey the host of onlookers the stars momentarily hold their twinkle in anticipation of the feast of notes preparing to float their way. His gaze falls on an elderly matron toad, Ribibal Sweets Slappy, his mother. Unlike her husband she can still belt out the songs that serenade the heavens each night before the angels close their eyes. The son gives a wink to his mother, and the low earthy tones of dusk begin.

The Katydids stroke their violins producing wave upon wave of tenor melodies, while the crickets fiddle harmonies flavoring the string sections contribution.

Cat Gut turns to Billy Bang and the tree frogs to join in with Ribibal adding volume to the choral background; sopranoes, Rhapsody Red Robin and Ruffle Sassy Bluebird, chirp in at Cat Gut’s nod applying the final touches to the lively array of night songs.

In the cool of late evening listeners reflecting on the cornucopia of sound are satiated with delight. The moon and stars give silent yawns, then gently pull the gypsy clouds over their eyes, and drift off to a restful sleep.


Margie said...

This is wonderful pat!
A perfect ending....

In the cool of late evening listeners reflecting on the cornucopia of sound are satisfied with delight.The moom and the stars give silent yawns, then gently pull the gypsy clouds over their eyes, and drify off to a restful sleep.
That was beautiful!
Love it!
Thank you!

floots said...

love this pat
wish i was there

MB said...

Enjoyed the back porch tale. Cat Gut, Razor Lips and Ribibal... great names!

trinitystar said...

Your imagination of nature ... which I do believe you see ... is WOW! And here I see them with you through your words.
This would be a great one to be illustrated. Gosh! I love it.
Thank you.
:o) hugs for you

Kai C. said...

this should be a short story.

very very good!

Paul said...

Great detail and sound-analogies/metaphors. I can really relate to this because I've had similar experiences - something about how nightfall enhances the sounds of nature - maybe a combo of the critters turning up the volume and the combustion engines turning it down.

firebird said...

Ah...this is worth staying awake half the night for...

(but I half-expected to have a real cat or two join in--they make great night music, too, you know!)

...I guess this is REAL LITERATURE-- no howling cats here--

Masago said...

Enjoyed. Thank you.

jel said...

I love sitting outside at dark in the spring and listening to the music !

thank pat!

Anonymous said...


that is a word and an insect that I haven't heard or seen in a while. I used to see them all the time when I lived in Michigan. This is beautifully written, Pat. I enjoyed reading it!! I love the imagery in this piece

polona said...

this makes me want to be there!
wonderful stuff!

Nancy said...

Your words brought back some good memories for me.
It first reminded me of sitting on my mom's back porch in Maine, Some times the music by the "peepers" was so loud you could not hear each other.
Then it bought back great memories of when my kids were young, we would sit on the back deck and listen and watch mother nature lull my kids to sleep.

gautami tripathy said...

Great piece. And a prose piece as I see it. I like it the way it is, raw.

steve said...

what a great mix - and friendly jazz from such a vivid group

Borut said...

Beautiful. A Rhapsody in Blue!?:)
Reminds me of my own suburban summertime blues of 2004!:)

Heard in the garden
In the choir of sparrows –
A lonely cricket