Saturday, September 13, 2014

Poems with Musical Allusions: Playlist for September 12, 2014



Nocturne

By  W. S. Di Piero 

Where are you now,

my poems,

my sleepwalkers?

No mumbles tonight?

Where are you, thirst,

fever, humming tedium?

The sodium streetlights

burr outside my window,

steadfast, unreachable,

little astonishments

lighting the way uphill.

Where are you now,

when I need you most?

             It’s late. I’m old.

                         Come soon, you feral cats

                                      among the dahlias.


REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Chopin Nocturnes, performed in jazz style by Jacques Loussier

 


 


My Papa’s Waltz

By  Theodore Roethke  


The whiskey on your breath  

Could make a small boy dizzy;  

But I hung on like death:  

Such waltzing was not easy.


We romped until the pans  

Slid from the kitchen shelf;  

My mother’s countenance  

Could not unfrown itself.


The hand that held my wrist  

Was battered on one knuckle;  

At every step you missed

My right ear scraped a buckle.


You beat time on my head  

With a palm caked hard by dirt,  

Then waltzed me off to bed  

Still clinging to your shirt.


REFLECTIvE MUSIC: The West Texas Waltz by Jay Ungar


 



Blackbird Etude


By  A. E. Stallings 


For Craig

The blackbird sings at

the frontier of his music.

The branch where he sat


marks the brink of doubt,

is the outpost of his realm,

edge from which to rout


encroachers with trills

and melismatic runs sur-

passing earthbound skills.


It sounds like ardor,

it sounds like joy. We are glad

here at the border


where he signs the air

with his invisible staves,

“Trespassers beware”—


Song as survival—

a kind of pure music which

we cannot rival.


REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Blackbirds by Sydney Lanier (unavailable) 


 

 


Machines


By  Michael Donaghy  
Dances Learned Last Night: Poems 1975-1995. Copyright © 2000
Dances Learned Last Night: Poems 1975-1995. Copyright © 2000

Dearest, note how these two are alike:

This harpsicord pavane by Purcell

And the racer’s twelve-speed bike.


The machinery of grace is always simple.

This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected

To another of concentric gears,

Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected,

Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers.

And in the playing, Purcell’s chords are played away.


So this talk, or touch if I were there,

Should work its effortless gadgetry of love,

Like Dante’s heaven, and melt into the air.


If it doesn’t, of course, I’ve fallen. So much is chance,

So much agility, desire, and feverish care,

As bicyclists and harpsicordists prove


Who only by moving can balance,

Only by balancing move.



REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Pavan by Henry Purcell

 

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