Rain that masks the world
Presses it back too hard against
His forehead at the pane.
Three stories down, umbrellas
Are borne along the current of the sidewalk; a bus
Glides like a giant planchette
In some mysterious pattern through the traffic.
Alone now, he feels lost in the new apartment;
There is some dark cloud shouldering in.
His wish, if he were given one,
Would be for the baby next door to awaken
And cry out, signifying end of nap.
Then he could practice. (Apartment life
Is full of these considerations.)
But when finally this does occur,
He still for a time postpones the first chord.
He looks around, full of secrets,
Carefully, with fists and elbows, preparing
One dark, tremendous chord
Never heard before—his own thunder!
And the strings will quiver with it
A long time before the held pedal
Gives up the sound completely—this throbbing
Of the piano’s great exposed heart.
Then, soberly, he begins his scales.
And gradually the storm outside dies away.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 5 Number 2, on page 50
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