23rd August

One Morning in the Library

One morning in the library I opened a book and a bird, bright green, flew in through the window. She flew round my head and out again. When I closed the book I found it was evening.

The next morning I opened another book. I thought I heard someone at the back door so I went to look. No one was there, but I could hear a bird singing. I stepped into the garden to listen.

The bird sang in a language unknown to me but I recognised her bright green shape among the dark leaves of the apple tree. She flew to the high wall, then into the next garden, where I heard the song again but only once. I found a gate in the wall that I had not known existed. It was covered over with ivy. I went through it.

This other garden was very well tended. There were gravel paths between box hedges, and rose beds, and fruit trees, and a wooden bridge over a pond spread with water lilies. I saw a robed figure, whom I took to be a monk, bending down in the distance.

I could not hear or see the bird. My feet crunched on the gravel when I walked over to the monk. He was weeding. ‘Have you seen a bright green bird?’ I asked.

He put his finger to his lips, then pointed to the ground. The green bird was under a bush. She was watching me but she did not sing, nor did she fly away.

I realised I had transgressed. I made signs of apology to the bird and to the monk. The monk nodded. When I walked away my feet made no sound on the path.

I passed over the bridge and the pond of lilies. A frog sat on one of the lilies. He was watching me but he did not speak. I came back through the gate into my own garden, and into my own house.

I found the book lying open where I had left it. I closed it and found it was evening. I searched the shelves for the first book, but I could not find it anywhere.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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