18 January 2009

C. Dale Young

[from C. Dale Young's The Second Person, Four Way, 2007]

This book contains so many good poems I almost couldn't choose one.


Maybe it is the pull
          of the violin
                   like the ocean itself

drawing us to its side,
          the sad memory
                   of something lost

and irretrievable
          but worthy of the search.
                   Skirting the dunes

this morning, the ocean
          just a sound drifting over
                   from the other side,

your melody returned
          to me unwarranted.
                   How could you

have known, Samuel Barber,
          that your violin concerto
                   could tell such a story?

But the story is such
          a common one, I suppose.
                   What begins as love

disintegrates after betrayal,
          transforms after grief
                   into something like the end.

Can you tell me, forgotten Master,
          great sandpiper scavenging
                   the shifting shoreline,

why your concerto, abstract
          as only Music can be,
                   should time and time again

offer such minor tragedy?
          Samuel Barber, whose concerto
                   was first deemed impossible,

you wrongly taught us that virtuosity
          was something attainable, something
                   only slightly out of reach.

Send me a sign, old man.
          Teach me how to stop playing
                   these scales of loss.

The Second Person: Poems (Stahlecker Series Selection)

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