The riddle of a piece of string

by Tom Pickard

at one end; sharp,
penetrating, a sliver of steel
slid between ribs to stake the heart,
solid as a hangman’s knot,
cruelly incisive, playfully cruel,
contradictory, repelling, rigid

in the middle; taut, flexible,
elastic —
the string of a well – tuned instrument,
a hammock, the sleek vibration of a vocal cord,
the give of a tree in a gale, inviting, rooted, resplendent

at the other end;


blown by any breeze,

wretched, irreconcilable