The piano improvisation

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter
—John Keats

My plan was the sort of feverish notion that comes only in a dream
I thought I would listen to radio news
and compress the punditry the pronouncements the battleground antagonists
into simple verse
And I would write the text onto a musical staff
where each line danced to melodies and chords
My son would then render my score
in contrapuntal voices
like a jazz pianist or continuo player
Expertly embellishing my themes
like the jaunty tremolos with which he rips through Alborada del Gracioso

In a giddy moment I thought he would join with me
I was happy to see him clasp enlightenment in the grip of his broad hands
Enfold, in rapt pulses,
the crowds responding in tears to his variations in gossamer and bronze

But waking, I thought

No —
How misguided to hope of recasting a newscaster’s drone

Then I grasped the real meaning of the dream —

To harbor trust in some undefiled glen within the mind
where everyone would cease impulsive motion
and pause to hear the billows that sweep all motions together

and contemplate the final vibrations of an unrancored music
nestled in a valley of bells 𝄐


This poem was published in Planisphere Quarterly.

Andy Oram
November 13, 2020

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