Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mahler's Fifth

With the music playing, I sit down to write.  Already, I've started pruning the few sentences I've written, pausing abstractedly to watch the cats groom one another.

The first movement surges to its end; then, the second unfurls its unbearable pathos.

And I'm back in Aschenbach's world.  For how can I not be, after seeing Death in Venice years ago?  The second movement of the symphony, the leitmotif of the movie, so expresses Aschenbach's quixotic quest, that any other association to the music is overshadowed by images of a lonely Venetian beach, Dirk Bogarde's rouged cheeks...

I think about the creative impulse and its curious meanderings, intimately affected by the sediments of one's past experiences and associations.

When the last movement draws to its end, I can hear the desultory breathing from the cats, and I return to my world.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


He waits, sonorous in his breathing.  His eyes widen at something beyond my ken.  He straightens himself, his tail, a poised, dark comma.  I put down my pen, stir in my seat, and cause a mirroring of activity towards two empty bowls.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


A snowman falls into place
without the need of my hands.

He is sculpted as from air
by an unseen divination
taking the shape of something
I have known of all along.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


It is the same
the silence of our household sounds
the cats
in their sinuous dance
and the light ebbing as I count the miles.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


In the torrent of waste
pouring out without end,
the sun setting
in the mangle of trees,
you could pick out the one
or two left behind.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


In my forty fifth year
I see the accretions
of memories and deeds
like the sediment of green tea
the wisp of its steam
carrying forward the vaguely familiar.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Already, before noon, I heard the sound of wind and waves, shared a pot of white tea with the scent of  oatmeal baking in the air, and read Mr. Merwin.