That last leaf I told you about?
She lost the bet, she fell,
invisible hands plucked her from her branch.
Remember the pond I described?
The ice has stilled it—
no wind can bother it now,
it can rest for a season.
The colors have given way
to the next step,
the crystaline white, you know. Read more »
(Another poem written at Reuben Jackson's workshop. This was inspired by a clip that Miles Davis later incorporated into a longer song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSa5CO2cu-c )
Winding down for the night
—or morning rather,
with that special grey-white tint
above the alley out back
where the boys rest their
aching lips, fingers still playing Read more »
(This is another poem I wrote at a Reuben Jackson workshop, inspired by the song "La Plus Belle Africaine" by Duke Ellington. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45B6jcabaDg )
Tribal flavor leads
surprising and random,
until the message is heard
and synchronicity steadies the flow
into the unanimous separation
of each leaping beat Read more »
(This is a poem inspired by "Blackthorn Rose", by Weather Report. I wrote this at a local writing workshop with Reuben Jackson, who also did a workshop at YWP Headquarters. Here is the link to the original piece. It might be neat if YWPers write their own take on it after listening! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slF5TD7frBA)
sweet curling dark hair,
deceptive dish of hidden delights, Read more »
(A poem my sister sent me for my sixteenth birthday)
There's sweetness in the air
and crispness in the breeze,
a fire in the foliage,
and whispers of first freeze.
The pumpkins beg to be carved,
the apples to be baked,
the garden to be harvested,
the fallen leaves to be raked. Read more »
How is it possible?
The trills melt from her bow,
the bow deceptive
as it glides smoothly,
while her long fingers step-dance
I watch the six faces, changed and yet the same since the morning’s rehearsal: no crossed legs, no pauses for adjustment, only the gift of music, placed into our minds as though each of us was chosen individually, and this blessing of phrase is intended for only my ears.
Something in the first movement is like a sunrise, rising full of color to light the bustle and variety of life below—markets and mansions, lords and laymen.
The trick with writing words from music is not creation, but translation. How can I convey the piece in anything but notes? How do I describe something I hear so well to someone who hears only my words?
I love how one thing can change so much: one half-step changes a dangerous, swirling danse macabre into a bright ballroom serenade. One repeated note on a viola echoes a racing heartbeat, and even in the ballroom you cannot relax; you know, in your heart of hearts, that the macabre is not over, that this serenade is instead a masquerade, and midnight approaches. Read more »
Simple, sweet line
passed lightly from one instrument to the next
like a greeting among friends.
Concerted, flowing, coy and coquettish—
a dance of favors.Read more »
slow and tranquil—
holds the room in silence—
pleasant and listening—
like a forest in an autumn wind.
it has begun.
Once more in the hall,
watching this which I have seen from its start,
two years ago on this self-same bench,
watching the familiar people gather.
She stands encircled,
voice dancing with violin,
her love shown in song.
She stands offstage,
viola held gently in hand,
waiting. Read more »
I don’t go to a school for magic. I don’t go to a fancy prep school where vampires may or may not hang out. I don’t even go to a regular old school where, suddenly, strange things start happening.Read more »
The first installment of The Lord of the Rings series, that hallowed entity of the fantasy novel, begins its first chapter unexceptionably (following a rather lengthy prologue on the history of hobbits and the finding of the One Ring). In fact, you would almost expect the first sentence—“When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton”—to be in a grammar book giving the example of “Basic Sentence Structure”—but it does not lack promise. To begin with a party, as this story does, simultaneously shows off the nature of the characters, and introduces you to them all at once, so you don’t have to go through dreary chance meetings on the road or at the post office. Tolkien, I noticed, though filling his pages with words, filled just as many hypothetical pages with what he didn’t say, or said halfway and left you to take the rest of the way. For instance, he states very clearly that hobbits never fight, are not violent, and are (almost) always good-natured. And yet as the narration that takes place in the Shire floats on, we learn of Brandybuck hobbits, with their “queer ways,” and the Sackville-Bagginses, the grasping, greedy natures of whom leads other hobbits to duck into hedges when they see them coming. From the beginning, you learn not to take the winding words of Tolkien for granted. Read more »
If I were to sum up Halloween in a haiku, I wouldn’t say: Read more »
Tall, shades, formal dress,
he cradles his violin
tempting out a song.
into innocent melody.
If I close my eyes,
I forget my surroundings,
hear only the song
drawn by bows
with such pure beauty.
The danger returns,
pounding heartbeat beneath
and then it is past,
lost in the soaring
flight of birds
whisper of wind.
(This is meant to be like a wandering minstrel's song, entertaining for coins)
Hear this poem for a song,
get it while it’s sweet,
it tells a tale of grace and courage
but mostly fingers fleet.
Three performers on the stage,
as one through melody
which tells a tale of summer light
In this my modern bardic lay
I speak of the Variations
and the beauty they bring,
on piano or string;
The figure stood, dark against the sunlight. The harsh heath wind tried unsuccessfully to budge him, biting and nudging like an impatient sheepdog, but the man took no notice. On the other side of the hill, his car sat silently on the dirt track, sad and rusted from long years of use.
It was still early, and though the farmers had undoubtedly been at work below for many hours, alone on the rocky hill, the man could see no other living thing. Read more »
My idea of perfection
Is a beach, abandoned
But for the waves, the sand
And myself, beneath a sky of grey clouds,
Surrounded by dune grass tossed by the wind,
The sea a shining path of forever.
Where silence is perfection,
Yet the cries of gulls fly on the wind,
There are stories of things abandoned,
Though their recounting will soon be buried in clouds,
And become less than shells in the sand.
And while few things can stay here forever,
Light ahead, dark behind,
Flowers in the wood divine,
Pattering footsteps drawing near,
The owner is as yet unclear.
Chestnut hair, a mask-like smile,
Temptation’s kiss—accept the trial!
Surely danger stays at bay
On a sunlit day in early May!
Glitter of armor, a high chanticleer,
Excalibur can’t save the fools who won’t hear.
The gasp of a maiden, who’s afraid for her knight,
The face of a man who knows he must fight.
High on a hilltop, the laughter is ringing:
Temptation’s slick voice cause the birds to stop singing, Read more »
Feathered flakes of snow adrift,
On the frosted land,
Silencing every echo with
An icy, numbing hand.
A crystal in the window makes
Rainbows shining bright,
While warmth from the old fireplace
Comforts with flickering light.
Birds have long departed,
Though not the stolid crow,
Who croaks atop a barren tree
That whispers of its woe.
Above the silent, frozen land,
Above where fires hiss,
Above the lonesome, lingering crow,
The sun bends down and gives the hills
A gentle, silent kiss.
taking in the flowers,
the audience around me,
the musicians on the stage;
she with the flowing dress,
he with the midnight suit,
and on the piano lies
the music for the song,
with one page bent
like a broken wing,
creased from rapid turning,
so oddly poetic in its imperfection,
among the beauty elsewhere.
Snatches of words
cadences not unlike
with the roar
of the ocean
made by voices beneath,
swelling and falling,
as the lights soften,
and return to full brilliancy:
the sign for silence.
Inspire: (verb) fill someone with the urge to do something, especially to do something creative. ORIGIN: Middle English enspire , from Old French inspirer , from Latin inspirare ‘breath or blow into,’ from in - ‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe.’ The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being, in the sense [impart a truth or idea to someone.] Read more »