For the Love of Gerald Finzi
Not these, I think, stroking
with my forefinger the outermost petals
of the individual I have selected, I think: Not these splayed
cream and smooth, first out, now
farthest apart, sculptural. . . Rather, it's the
innermost petals that intrigue me, those in the formative stages:
the way they minutely
grip, curl, they're preparing for something later,
they're enduring the tension, the desire to do something, somehow
the part that
feels the desire obtrude:
a young girl in her skirts squats to pet the cat
who lies on his side for her, a kind of girl: lonely, adult. Often
figures I feel close to,
sketching under titles like "Girl in Full Skirt,
With Cat," addressing in the second person feelings I know:
your legs were
stems of such slenderness,
you could twine them together, tighter, tighter,
tight almost to the bursting point, tight as silk cord twisted into
cushions, or draperies
like those at "Grand-maman's." Something needs to
or be squeezed to extinction, doesn't it. . . [I name her]
Julie? She says:
Yes! And, and
"it's nothing to do with
my talented mother or with my mother's
talented menfriends, nothing to do with my pastel chalks, or with
"it's wholly outside those things, but it's something
to do, to do with gripping/squeezing/pleasure/pain, like talented
like the chalks
themselves, like the very
paper, whether cream and toothy, or slick and white
to sooth the sharpest pencil, like the rending violin itself."
Not-yet-tendril-like. . . I
ply them, these inward petals, with my left thumb
away from the center's minuscule round yellow rug, I feel their
to go right
back where they were, so tight,
so inside-gripping. But I could tell them what
they better face: even the most secret vulnerability is
THIS MUSIC THIS DRINK
SPIDER MUMS, IN MAJOLICA PITCHER
". . . a strong outburst from the
orchestra, the bass line constantly rising
to twist the harmonies in new directions. The first entry of the
pays little heed to this
introduction, the solo part rather prefer-
ring to move things along in a more pastoral way. Two more attempts
by the strings
to add tempest to the
movement fail to stir the clarinet, which calms
the orchestra down to a rippling accompaniment, so remi-
Finzi's songs . . ."
In whose motions children dance,
I wish you had prepared me.
Water, in whose several bodies wanderers wash,
I wish you would heal me too.
Water, in whose extremes, of steam, of ice, pain forms,
why didn't you cauterize, immobilize my infant heart?
Now, you had better warn your best
friend, the earth,
better warn each vessel made of earth or shaped like earth,
"This woman may well abandon you."
You should enlist the aid of your enemy, sun-fire, saying
"This woman half wants you to blind her, obscuring
all manifestations to which she cannot but cling."
Dear Water, How I wish you would gather yourself
together and rise,
gather yourself together with thunder and together
overpower my sole lover, the air,
"Send this woman this hour no barrier,
rain on slurry-gray waves."
The novel that isn't getting written.
Or that is, with glacial slowness.
I imagine you.
The eyes that weary
the rain blues
the highway mists
the headlights that speed.
The sheets look whiter
under the black-metal desk lamp
with its skullcap and its elbow
the white bird flying
the poet Hart
I imagine you.
In January, clarinet concerto.
In white January.
The novel that isn't getting written
not one letter.
The little box the pen-nib came in says
The flat little bottle of black ink
The box the pen came in
shake your pen.
But it's hard not to shake your pen
the story that isn't
the story that is.
I imagine you.
A tapped furnace.
The bed where one doesn't lay oneself down.
The bed where you don't lay yourself down.
And then you do.
Tending to squatness,
bottom is broad.
On top I offer
his hand a curve.
Both flat and round,
marry what he draws
what he breathes.
Curious, he lifts
part that covers
my opening, his fingertips
He picks his time
by his own thirst
but too, by the sound
make losing pressure:
then doth he grasp me
up altogether and pour.
MAJOLICA PITCHER, MORE OF THE WORDS
Whether their quiet lamps darken or burn,
doubly, if only once, surely
desire must twin, span the single night,
the two horizons radiant black
desire must bevel the moment these vanish
into a shared dream
alert trees, and moon-on-glade, reflections.
There these are pulled
toward each other, toward
fusing forever his bellow, her scream . . .
if only on paper
Paper, smooth, and cream, as
the longest oldest petals of the spider
mum I glide along my lips . . . not despairing till made-up "Julie"
Finzi--British Composer and apple grower.
"IT OPENS"--quotation from Alun Francis, in the Program
Note to the Compact Disc, CDA66001, Hyperion Records Limited.
RIDDLE--Possible solution: A tea kettle