Monday, September 14, 2009

Rhapsody in Blue

I thought I was doing so well. I set my alarm for 18:55 so that I would be on time for the five-minute poem, and when I heard the alarm, I went to TFE's blog to make sure there wasn't a theme I was supposed to follow. Oh. I was supposed to take my time, listen to some music, write a poem, and post it at 19:00. Oh.

"Oh, what the hell," I said inelegantly. (It had been a long day). I threw a frozen dinner into the microwave, gathered computer, pencil, paper, and my dinner, retired to a quiet room, and when I had finished eating, I listened to Gershwin play Rhapsody in Blue. The following is how it made me feel, the way it always makes me feel. I've embedded the music at the end of the poem.

Moving onstage, you twirl and trip
and right yourself with arms like wings,
cast a shy smile toward the invisible crowd,
Sigh love me, love me -
take one long, deep breath,
face the footlights, bow.
The pianist watches carefully,
stretches, moves long fingers, plays
your graceless clown confusion into dance.
Your eyes meet his and his fingers move
across the stage with you,
gentling you, whispering, teasing.

The orchestra, impatient, rushes forward,
pulling you, pulling him faster, faster,
clarinet and trombone
crying joy, wailing fear and raucous power
and youth,
the foreverness of life,
And your defiant dance responds in arabesque
and leap and sinuous line
I live - I live -
Someone blew on the dust of ages
and there I was, and here I am,
this ridiculous notion, a dancing clown
and yet I live, and yet you love me.


Dominic Rivron said...

You know, there's something uncanny about that. I can hear the Gershwin in my head as I read it. It really captures something about the music.

(By the way, mine was "Waiting for the Man" by the Velvet Underground).

Tracy said...

WONDERFUL work, Sandra...I love how your words meld with Gershwin. This is very interesting, writing to, for, or with music. :o)

Sandra Leigh said...

Thank you, Dominic. Velvet Underground, eh? Cool. It's been many years since I heard them. I'll have to run over to You Tube and check it out.

Tracy, thank you. I agree. Apparently some people write to music all the time. I tend to turn everything off when I'm trying to write, so this was an interesting experiment.

Poetikat said...

It really is a piece of genius, isn't it? Excellent job! (both of you!)


Sandra Leigh said...

LOL! Thanks, Kat. You've made my day.

Totalfeckineejit said...

That's a beautiful poem ,Sandra and I can hear the music in it too.Some lovely thoughts and images. My favourite bit?

'And your defiant dance responds in arabesque
and leap and sinuous line
I live - I live -'

Wonderful! Thanks a million for joining in.

Sandra Leigh said...

Thank you, Eejit. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed listening to the rhapsody and trying to put it into words. I've just been watching the movie Immortal Beloved, in which Beethoven tells Schindler (I'm paraphrasing) that music is like hypnotism - that the whole purpose of a piece of music is to place the listener directly in the mind of the composer. He asks Schindler "What was I thinking when I wrote this?" I think we've got a theme going.

Totalfeckineejit said...

That's an interesting thought Sandra,particularly (obviously)for the ones without lyrics.I wonder would any of our thoughts taken from the music be in any way similar to their thoughts put into the music? Mmmm.
ps. Read the poem again, really like it.Is Rhapsody in Blue New York waking up -or something?

Sandra Leigh said...

Decidedly New York, quintessentially American - particularly the U.S. of Gershwin's time - brash, cocky, optimistic, and like a teenager - talking the big talk, swaggering, but drying his sweaty palms on his pants, and smearing Clearasil on his face every night in front of the mirror. I do wish I could have met Gershwin.

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