From the moist earth, to cold, unearthly twilight, sipping softly the nightfall dew, this small cicada comes. Now, certain of his ground, he strikes out Satchmo chords, in long, pure sound. Mysterious, mystical, a strange and brittle music, mixed in silence, mosaics from his lifelong upward journey, now hammered and transmuted through the sky. This enigmatic poet knows the fiery brilliance at the centre of the earth, the restless, teeming, Heraclitean flux, but thrusting ever upwards, from oblivion to truth, confronts the constant paradox, the dark night's stillness at the moment of his birth. In the quiet sky, one dying cadence rings. Final, absolute, that cry, yet somewhere still, mid counsellors and kings, a mild cicada sings. (c) Janet Upcher
(The cicada has traditionally been an emblem for poets, in that it spends a good deal of its life struggling to transcend the surface beneath which it labours. It is a tiny insect, yet its voice can be heard across vast distances. As soon as it reaches its destination on the earth's surface, it sings intensely, for its lifespan is brief.)
Janet Upcher was born in Hobart in 1946. After teaching English and French in Europe and Tasmania following her graduation from university, she gave up academe to write and create a family. She is especially interested in the "endless miracles and paradoxes of being human: birth, death, the passage of time and mutability, beauty and decay, strength and suffering."
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