Tuesday, 5 April 2011


In the tiny corner of this tiny part of that tiny speck suspended in a sunbeam* April is celebrated as the National Poetry Month. Which is absolutely marvelous. We need not just one day but 30 days at a stretch to bring to the frontal conscience of the world at large, that which is important. Well, a tiny part this maybe but it does think it’s the edge (or is it the end?) of the world and of all western civilization. So February is devoted to Black History and March to Women’s History and then comes April. And with the advent of spring comes poetry. But naturally.

Most people have a difficult relationship with poetry that is if they bother to have any relationship at all. But that’s just because they read bad poems or more likely they don’t read enough poems. Or even more likely because they don’t know how to read poems. But those concerns for a month at least are laid to rest. Every publication worth it’s weight in ink is publishing poems. And for those who read all (and any kind of poems), read a lot of poems and often enough know exactly how they ought to be read this is marvelous. Ah! But I already said that.

When confronted with so many poems, and so many unheard of poems you know what is even more marvelous? Coming upon one that echoes something you felt in the not so recent past. And if that happens before you have emptied your cup of coffee in the morning it is beyond marvelous.

K. 453
Karl Kirchwey
(from The New York Review of Books)

On May 27, 1784,
   as he followed Vienna’s back streets home,
Mozart paused, startled, by a pet shop door
   and listened to the allegretto theme

from his own piano concerto in G-Major
   repeated by a starling in a cage.
He’d written it only five weeks before—
   had God given them both the same message?

He counted out thirty-four copper Kreutzer.
   Pleasure was like the iridescent sheen
in the dark plumage: an imagination livelier,
   perhaps, more fecund and ready than his own!

He entered this in his new quarto accounts ledger,
   but where the price should go, he wrote the tune
instead—transcribed it a second time, rather—
   and then, in his small hand, wrote Das war schön.**

*For me April till now has been about Carl Sagan for no particular reason at all except there are times when he is sorely missed.
**that was beautiful

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