Saturday, April 30, 2011

Life in D Major (National Poetry Month: Day 30)

"The way music is formed of
cloud and fire once actually
concrete now accidental as
half truth or as whole truth"
-From That This by Susan Howe-

First the tuning, 
a few dissonant experiments to see
how everything fits together.
Then slow, start with two days
so similar that one ties into the next,
and only the rhythm of passing hours 
measures them apart.

Move gradually into rolling weeks,
arpeggiated into days that begin 
to drive forward,
carrying you along until 
they pile on top of each other;
first two, then three, then more,
and soon you are playing great dramatic chords,
with alternating Sundays a fourth or fifth above tonic, 
chiming out in concert with your goals,
your failings, your swift recoveries.

Then in counterpoint ,a descant dances in
on tip-toes, down and up,
dodging in and out of your chords
with perfect grace notes.
Her half-steps into your life seem accidental,
marked out in staccato seconds 
and boldly marcato moments,
but your schedules always seem to 
be syncopated.

A modulation, and with falling scales
it is suddenly clear before your eyes
that everything has become natural.
Trying not to go flat, you brace against the 
supports you have, and add your melody
to the duet.
Slowly building crescendo, 
and some of the earlier elements 
no longer fit, edging the harmony with 
too minor a key,
so those drop out.

Thankfully so, for now the tempo accelerates,
and you would be tripping over 
those extra eighth-notes. There are
hours you wish could be held,
a whole chorus of fermatas rained down on
the tight harmonies that resolve so well.
But the beat moves on, and you play,
amazed at how repeated days
can form such a solid foundation for
this complex melody.
Not even sure where in the piece you are,
she sees the sign and you jump

to the coda, tying earlier themes into
one concluding stanza. Follow her through 
a glissando of happy words, then
a caesura

End of the first movement.

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