Friday, February 16, 2007

Bartok, Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta: Adagio

This is one of several poems I have written to describe my experiences in listening to "high culture" music. The title of this poem refers to a movement in an orchestral piece by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (1881-1945), a pioneer in ethnomusicology (the study of folk music) and one of the 20th century's most daring and unique composers.

Night mutters to herself, so passing strange,
Scratching rooftops with her slender toe
While not-man voices chatter just in range
And shadows glitter to and fro.

Moon-gilded patches of the neighborhood
Seem haunt by dreams wrapp’d in spectral haze,
Imagined demons where in daytime stood
Known solids, unenchanted ways.

Undreamt potentials of the cave-dark night
Lurk just past lantern-edge, biding the hour
Till sleep’s own apparitions cloud the sight
And quench thought with their downy show’r.

IMAGE: Wright of Derby, Joseph (1734-1797). An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump. Ca. 1767-68. Oil on canvas, 72" x 96". Location:National Gallery, London, Great Britain. Photo Credit: Art Resource, NY


Anonymous said...

That was beautiful, to put it simply. You never cease to amaze me, Robbie F. Sweet picture, too.

Just one question: Do you ever sleep?

RobbieFish said...

Hi, Sara. Yes, I do sleep sometimes. I get up most days at 4:30 a.m., though. Unfortunately I also hate to go to bed at a sensible time (like, say, 8:30 p.m.) so I often take naps in the afternoon.