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TO TRILBY


The sky is a greater musician than I:
the rains plays pizzicato on the rooftops
with no sign of fatigue;
clouds hit every note I miss
on my aging piano,
and crush my seasoned flourishes
with glissandos of thunder
and chords of ragged lightning.

Liebschen,
I have taught you the
choreography of love,
the dance steps of passion;
the sly tilt of your head
as the rolled notes flow from your throat.

But nothing flows to me,
though the poses you strike,
like the lightning's fitful flashes,
compel the night sky to respond.

How can I grant the one gift
God has not granted in life,
and may not in death:
the love that is not choreographed,
the dance that is not taught?

Your headache is gone, liebschen -
it lies in my heart;
but, mesmerized, you cannot feel the
slow, peaceful music of the rainsong
rolling down the windows of the sky;

your sleepwalking nights
shall never hear the wind
nor the bell drifting over
the rising hour of dawn.

Come, pretty Trilby
with the daintiest foot in France -
master the song I've never played,
the dance I've never conquered;

destroy the sterile metronome
that animates these hands,
that orchestrates my speeches
and the silence of my gaze;

take the sleep from your widened eyes
as the music ripples upward
from the dome of your throat
to the dome of the night,

the words that lie in wait
where sorrow once resided
that now resides in me,
at the night's most tremulous hour,
to the tune of an untaught sky.
 

- Paul Kesler
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