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« Sonnet, 11/5/2019 [by Mitch Sisskind] | Main | Ballet de Lorraine Season 2022-23 #2: a tale of sentiment and feeling [by Tracy Danison] »

November 06, 2022


oh, that last line will stay forever

beauty--In my favorite recordings,

you can hear the pianist breathing

Pablo Casals breathed often on his cello recordings, I believe. It was either he or a pianist I can't remember who could also be heard occasionally softly grunting while playing beautiful passages. Just the mention of the body sounds is poetry to my ears, reminding me of similar late-night wonder. Solo and quieter Irish traditional recordings often include feet tapping like a heartbeat. Real human bodies make music, and record.

"...It is the same night / that fills the ruins." Remarkable words that almost seem they couldn't be thought, but just rose out of somewhere other.

deceptively 'simple' like the paintings of alex katz or the poems of frank o'hara (last lines of this evoke the last lines of o'Hara's 'the day lady died')...lots of resonance for me...

Such beauty. I once sat very close to the stage where yo yo ma was playing. I could hear him breathing. Transcendent.

M. Lally's comment "deceptively simple," right on the nose. Lovely poem.

Beautiful poem.


I recall watching a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation clip of pianist Glenn Gould playing Bach’s GOLDBERG VARIATIONS on June 3, 1964. What mesmerized me, in addition to the utter genius of Gould’s fingering of the keys, was how his mouth and lips moved in tandem with his playing. I could detect no sounds emanating from them, yet you could readily tell from their incessant movement how immersed Gould was in the music. It was otherworldly to watch and hear. The last two lines of Richie Hofmann’s impressive poem “Male Beauty” made me think of that. They say the piano is the instrument closest in overall effect to the human voice. Richie Hofmann’s poem evokes that, giving voice through writing to the mysteries of human attraction, whether aural, visual, or both. I can hear the poem breathing.

This poem is like a diary of different days, but not in chronological order. They suggest an extended period of time like that required for hard green pears to ripen. When the poet eventually comes home one night, he finds his beloved is sleeping but not soundly, for he is drowsy, perhaps restless and murmuring, a little like a breathing pianist.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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