Friday, September 16, 2011

Poetry Friday: French Horn

For a few days only,
the plum tree outside the window
shoulders perfection.
No matter the plums will be small,
eaten only by squirrels and jays.
I feast on the one thing, they on another,
the shoaling bees on a third.
What in this unpleated world isn’t someone’s seduction?
The boy playing his intricate horn in Mahler’s Fifth,
in the gaps between playing,
turns it and turns it, dismantles a section,
shakes from it the condensation
of human passage. He is perhaps twenty.
Later he takes his four bows, his face deepening red,
while a girl holds a viola’s spruce wood and maple
in one half-opened hand and looks at him hard.
Let others clap.
These two, their ears still ringing, hear nothing.
Not the shouts of bravo, bravo,
not the timpanic clamor inside their bodies.
As the plum’s blossoms do not hear the bee
nor taste themselves turned into storable honey
by that sumptuous disturbance.

-- Jane Hirshfield

More Poetry Friday at The Poem Farm.


Enbrethiliel said...


I absolutely love this poem--and I can't begin to explain why.

Tabatha said...

The ending is delicious!

Amy L V said...

"What in this unpleated world isn’t someone’s seduction?"

There is such hope in this, such an acknowledgement of beauty in all of its different shapes and sounds.


Mark DeFrancisis said...

Here is my beloved, hometown orchestra playing the Mahler 5 in its entirety, in Berlin, this past Sunday:


I heard them perform this under L. Maazel and M. Jansons. This, however, is my first encounter w/ Honeck's PSO Mahler.

GatheringBooks said...

Poetry of music captured indeed. Thank you for sharing this.

maria horvath said...

"Sumptuous disturbance" -- what a lovely oxymoron.

Rodak said...

Thanks, Pentimento. She is such a beautiful poet!

Pentimento said...

She has a new book out! This was in the New Yorker a couple of years ago, and I'm pretty sure it must be in the new book too.