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A Gift

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

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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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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

Sponsored
Sponsored

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
1

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

Thx Again READER

June 1, 2010

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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