On Ruth Stone Releasing the Orb
by Lynne Thompson
All of this was just a way to dream of Dave
Brubeck’s Blue Rondo à la Turk, of Pablo
Casals bowing Bach’s Suite No. 1 with such
effluence that every living thing—the purple
finch eating its thistle and millet,
grown men selling cut-rate wares, children skipping rope—
halted their own joy to listen. The poet said
I am the simple sieve that drinks the universe but
just as she said so, some unsettled American
killed a Jew, an uneasy Jew killed some
Lebanese children he’d never met, their eyes turned to
Mecca, to other dominions and their schisms.
No one was listening to the music, not Chopin’s
Opus No. 9, not Oscar Peterson
priming his piano with Perdido. Oh, how
quickly the melody fades to
riffs on revenge, to clank and helmets,
strut and baby birds with stiff wings in the desert.
Teach the children lessons in delight the poet urged, knowing
ultimately they need to learn of sweet
verbena; the way the artist
Watanabe Kazan painted inner virtue,
Xanadu being just another color dripping from his brush.
You can live with this:
zinnias thriving in a field…on your lips the taste of something.
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