Gould’s “Aria”

First time I heard the “Aria” from Glenn Gould’s 1981 performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations I was reading with the radio in the background. When it came on I dropped my book. Piano is an exercise in impossibility. Perhaps all music is, but with piano you must draw out the capacities of a vocalist or... Continue Reading →

Bloomsday

On June 16 people who love Joyce’s Ulysses or dressing as though it’s 1904 overtake Dublin. I began by walking into Sandycove, its main street lined with tables at which bobbed an extraordinary array of ornate hats and boaters. Clusters of musicians played traditional Irish tunes while further down the street someone wailed, “But I... Continue Reading →

on the train out of Oxford

Outside the train’s rain-stained window bright shards of wool float. The track from Oxford to London Paddington slices through rolls of pasture and wood where sheep lounge along low-slung fences. Reading approaches, and industry spans the afternoon. London soon, then down the tube, then a train to the airport. A little roar and thrust, then... Continue Reading →

such harmonious madness

Museum of Natural History, Dublin robin, mounted 1902, your breast is not so vibrant now more spring days have sprung from mouldered ground than your brief bones could number your dignity is you are not froze in hunger like the seven young beak-open absenceward whose gullets stiff could not imbibe the good stuff and profane... Continue Reading →

variations on a mottled theme

a tree stands lone against the sun and with lone leaf stares from its cracked ground morning knuckles creak; hill-hide ripples golden mat of fur about to rise, about to rise and growl you said, sometimes i think the trees are hairs erumpent from follicles of some vast beast whose skin we prowl i said,... Continue Reading →

doing the jive with Pierrot Lunaire

i El Greco chose just the right greys and browns to muddle Christ’s face with quietude and death. For the blood of cherries is sweet. And by the rivers of blahblah I sat down and wept. ii Somber glowworms lumber in hedgerows. I could not undo the hopes I had birthed in you. Dandelions chuckle... Continue Reading →

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