11 April 2011

Adam Zagajewski ~ Three (more) Poems

In one of his poems (not these) Zagajewski notes: "Without silence there would be no music." That is a theme - the symbiosis of music and quietude - that, it seems to me, runs through the poems in this volume.* So, for instance ...

Music In The Car

Music heard with you
at home or in the car
or even while strolling
didn't always sound as pristine
as piano tuners might wish -
it was sometimes mixed with voices
full of fear and pain,
and then that music
was more than music,
it was our living and our dying.
Music Heard With You

Music I heard with you was more
than music . . . - Conrad Aiken

Music heard with you
will stay with us always

Grave Brahms, and elegiac Schubert,
a few songs, Chopin's fourth ballad,

A few quartets with heart -
breaking chords (Beethoven, adagia),

the sadness of Shostakovich, who
didn't want to die.

The great choruses of Bach's Passions,
as if someone had summoned us,

demanding joy,
pure and impartial

joy in which faith
is self-evident.

Some scraps of Lutoslawski
as fleeting as our thoughts.

A black woman singing blues
ran through us like shining steel,

though it reached us on the street
of an ugly, dirty town.

Mahler's endless marches
the trumpet's voice that opens that Fifth Symphony

and the first part of the Nineth
(you sometimes call him "malheur!").

Mozart's despair in the Requiem,
his buoyant piano concertos -

you hummed them better than I did,
but we both know that.

Music heard with you
will grow still with us.
Music Heard

Music heard with you
was more than music
and the blood that flowed through our arteries
was more than blood
and the joy we felt
was genuine
and if there is anyone to thank,
I thank him now,
before it grows too late
and too quiet.

* From: Adam Zagajewski. 2008. Eternal Enemies. New York: FSG,
pages 8, 44-5, 93.

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