For a long time now I have not been able to listen

to Dinu Lipatti’s slender, ascetic fingertips

pressing ever so gently firm on the piano keys

in his last recorded transcription of Bach’s Cantata

“Jesus bleibet meine Freude” given to me

by George Oppen the year he died.

It is too sad to hear

that severe, geometrically measured stroll of the soul

healthily light-stepping into heaven,

and has become sadder with each loved one’s death:

the slow, spare, stately pace wrenching the heart

with its graceful ascendancy over grief,

and staring as if straight into the face of God

either everywhere or nowhere, leaving us

nothing to say, nothing to hear as luminous

and meltingly tender as the air

fills with silence, and the heart with loss.

Jack Marshall is a poet based in San Francisco. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry and the author of several poetry collections and a stunning memoir, From Baghdad to Brooklyn, the story of his youth as a Sephardic Jew struggling with his orthodox religious heritage. George Oppen (1908–84) was an influential and much admired American poet. “A Gift” is from Gorgeous Chaos: New and Selected Poems 1965–2001, published by Coffee House Press and used with permission.

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Comments

nan shartel June 1, 2010 @ 12:58 p.m.

spirit reveling linguistic in this..minuet meter...delicate but strong...as it makes one feel they are floating above the ground

Thx Again READER

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