Sunday, July 5, 2009
Joshua Bell to his violin, by Jennifer Grotz
Robert Schumann - Träumerei, with Joshua Bell
This is what I hear when you begin to dip
and quiver: I have one hundred lit candles
to blow out. Then my throat goes sore,
tightens while oxygen passes through it,
and the candles throb like manic petals
jealous of the music my arm releases from you.
I am so young my bones have made a place
for you, my wrist bends, my neck crooks to hold
your shallow body like a teenager balances a phone.
Stradivarius, sometimes I enact a sonorous trembling,
bangs convulsing around my face, the audience
coughing, you with your misery and me to get it out.
I do not know where it comes from,
that wind. You were shaped to help
its arrival, an emblem of grief, not the grief itself.
The sound leaves before we can change it.
This time a woman has caught the sound and holds it
in her throat. I confess it is only a way to understand
the music's loss, but no one is ever merely
vessel, violin, your smooth wood stained
the color of dried blood and my chin locking you
against my neck. I cradle you.
Toppling beauty: the candles require air and you
give them wind until they flicker and smoke.
from Cusp: Poems (Mariner Original, 2003)