Saturday, March 4, 2017

Random Poetry about Music



About My Very Tortured Friend, Peter

By Charles Bukowski

 

he lives in a house with a swimming pool 
and says the job is 
killing him. 
he is 27. I am 44. I can’t seem to 
get rid of 
him. his novels keep coming 
back. “what do you expect me to do?” he screams 
“go to New York and pump the hands of the 
publishers?” 
“no,” I tell him, “but quit your job, go into a 
small room and do the 
thing.” 
“but I need ASSURANCE, I need something to 
go by, some word, some sign!” 
“some men did not think that way: 
Van Gogh, Wagner—” 
“oh hell, Van Gogh had a brother who gave him 
paints whenever he 
needed them!” 

“look,” he said, “I’m over at this broad’s house today and 
this guy walks in. a salesman. you know 
how they talk. drove up in this new 
car. talked about his vacation. said he went to 
Frisco—saw Fidelio up there but forgot who 
wrote it. now this guy is 54 years 
old. so I told him: ‘Fidelio is Beethoven’s only 
opera.’ and then I told 
him: ‘you’re a jerk!’ ‘whatcha mean?’ he 
asked. ‘I mean, you’re a jerk, you’re 54 years old and 
you don’t know anything!’” 

“what happened 
then?” 
“I walked out.” 
“you mean you left him there with 
her?” 
“yes.” 

“I can’t quit my job,” he said. “I always have trouble getting a 
job. I walk in, they look at me, listen to me talk and 
they think right away, ah ha! he’s too intelligent for 
this job, he won’t stay 
so there’s really no sense in hiring 
him. 
now, YOU walk into a place and you don’t have any trouble: 
you look like an old wino, you look like a guy who needs a 
job and they look at you and they think: 
ah ha!: now here’s a guy who really needs work! if we hire 
him he’ll stay a long time and work 
HARD!” 

“do any of those people,” he asks “know you are a 
writer, that you write poetry?” 
“no.” 
“you never talk about 
it. not even to 
me! if I hadn’t seen you in that magazine I’d 
have never known.” 
“that’s right.” 
“still, I’d like to tell these people that you are a 
writer.” 
“I’d still like to 
tell them.” 
“why?” 
“well, they talk about you. they think you are just a 
horseplayer and a drunk.” 
“I am both of those.” 
“well, they talk about you. you have odd ways. you travel alone. 
I’m the only friend you 
have.” 
“yes.” 
“they talk you down. I’d like to defend you. I’d like to tell 
them you write 
poetry.” 
“leave it alone. I work here like they 
do. we’re all the same.” 
“well, I’d like to do it for myself then. I want them to know why 
I travel with 
you. I speak 7 languages, I know my music—” 
“forget it.” 
“all right, I’ll respect your 
wishes. but there’s something else—” 
“what?” 
“I’ve been thinking about getting a 
piano. but then I’ve been thinking about getting a 
violin too but I can’t make up my 
mind!” 
“buy a piano.” 
“you think 
so?” 
“yes.” 

he walks away 
thinking about 
it. 

I was thinking about it 
too: I figure he can always come over with his 
violin and more 
sad music.



The Sound of Music
BY Kathryn Nuernberger
When I tell you I love
the song “Edelweiss”
you have to understand
that even though I too
am a sophisticate
who scorns musicals,
I was once a little girl
who stood in my grand-
father’s living room
singing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo! while he sipped
his scotch and laughed
at my preciosity.
And when I sing the lyrics
in your ear—Small and
bright, clean and white,
you look happy to meet me
you have to understand
my grandfather only ever
had one friend, a jeweler
who also drank scotch,
and left his $10,000 Rolex
to my grandfather, who
wore it even though
it turned his wrist green,
wore it to the funeral,
where the daughter sang
in her ethereal voice. Blossom
of snow may you bloom
and grow, bloom and grow
forever. She couldn’t take
her eyes off the casket.
You have to understand that
my grandfather kept spinning
that heavy gold around
his wrist, and when he raised
his voice to join in, he cried
to sing it. Edelweiss, edelweiss,
bless my homeland forever.


Limitations
By Henrietta Cordelia Ray

The subtlest strain a great musician weaves,
Cannot attain in rhythmic harmony
To music in his soul. May it not be
Celestial lyres send hints to him? He grieves
That half the sweetness of the song, he leaves
Unheard in the transition. Thus do we
Yearn to translate the wondrous majesty
Of some rare mood, when the rapt soul receives
A vision exquisite. Yet who can match
The sunset’s iridescent hues? Who sing
The skylark’s ecstasy so seraph-fine?
We struggle vainly, still we fain would catch
Such rifts amid life’s shadows, for they bring
Glimpses ineffable of things divine.



Rendezvous With A Harp
By Carol Muske-Dukes
It was too big to take on the subway
so she came to it every day
that winter in the room
where it waited on one foot,
sly seabird.

She sat down and opened her hands,
parted the wings one by one
till it flew ahead of her fingers
singing
the lame foot skidding on gold.

The sun turned its back on the glass
and paled as she sat
obstinate
green-eyed
her foot on its foot
pumping.

The fire died.
Snow hissing at the window.
Above her head a baroque hailstorm
failed in 4/4 time. She sang,
unable to hold the bright hinge
to her heart.
Lame savior she sang.
It bowed as she left
and sat, chastened by scales,
wondering.


Ode to St. Cecilia’s Day
By John Dryden

Stanza 2
What passion cannot music raise and quell! 
                When Jubal struck the corded shell, 
         His list'ning brethren stood around 
         And wond'ring, on their faces fell 
         To worship that celestial sound: 
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell 
                Within the hollow of that shell 
                That spoke so sweetly and so well. 
What passion cannot music raise and quell



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