ON HEARING A MAURICE RAVEL QUARTET
by Irving A Greenfield
The music touched me,
and I touched the music.
A theme, played by the violist,
dug out of the notes with strings and a bow,
thrown to the moment and caught something
something I did not want to remember.
The cantorial chant of the High Holy Days,
now a memory realized;
A plea for mercy, even to me, an unbeliever.
The mood hurls him into the past;
he’s a small boy curled up on thread-bare couch,
maybe it was green?
Half awake, half asleep,
Listening to the Saturday afternoon performance of Tristan and Isolde.
As he listens now,
seated on high-back chair next to the window with a harbor view.
He listens and reaches back into the past; the music his arms and hands.
Something magical, beyond his ability to understand how that memory,
that image so long gone came back to occupy a place in his brain,
A place he never knew he had,
especially for that insignificant moment when he was a boy
listening as he listens now to Tristan and Isolde
as eternal sleep claims him.
THE MEMORY AND THE MUSIC
The reality and the memory
an outdoor concert on a sweltering summer’s night
with the salt scent of the ocean heavy in the air
a burst of music
“The William Tell Overture”
“the pounding hoof beats and a ‘high-oh Silver!’”
And a small boy is sprawled out on the floor
in front of the Majestic Radio
his gray-haired father sits close by
pretending not to listen to the daring-do
of the Masked-man and his Indian friend, Tonto
but listening all the same
The memory of it made sweeter by the music,
by the gallop of so many years