Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Beethoven tells me"     [gnomic verse]

The romantic era hasn't ended!
          Beethoven tells me as much
the notes he wrote remain extant
          and speak of current things
ah we who live this dreamy life
          you say are out of touch?
there's still a sky!   there's still a sea!
          and birds are born with wings


Blogger M. Shahin said...

Beautiful!! Especially those last lines; yes there is a sky and birds with wings. How little we realize that sometimes.

Beethoven also happens to be one of my favorite composers. The 5th Symphony is tremendous no matter how many times I listen to it.

Thu Oct 12, 01:25:00 AM PDT  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

The poem was occasioned by hearing a radio program featuring a musician/conductor (I didn't catch his name) who expressed the interesting view that Beethoven's tempi (rhythmic speeds) are oftentimes performed more slowly than the composer had wished. An example given was that of the well-known "Moonlight Sonata." We heard a faster performance -- and the effect indeed differed interestingly. (And it reminded me a bit of Philip Glass.) Another thing I learned from this program was that the title (Moonlight Sonata) was not Beethoven's; it was tacked on by a publisher (interesting in cashing in on the romantic moon mystique presumably). Beethoven's own name for the composition was something along the lines of "a little fantasy."
But yes, I too was happy with the poem's final line.

Thu Oct 12, 10:29:00 AM PDT  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

I cross-posted this short poem to the Cafe'Cafe' group poetry blog. Lyle Daggett happened to make a brief but rather expansive comment on the poem there. Responding to the comment, I noted these thoughts:

The poem owes a bit to my long-ago study of classical Chinese. Among classical forms is a 4-line form like this (7 characters per line). After having read a number of them, the basic rhythm and pattern -- which involves the sequential rhetoric, the step-wise unfolding of thought embodied in words -- gets internalized. (I didn't happen to draw the mental connection with those antecedents till considering your comment -- and then realizing this is certainly a poem following the said pattern and method.) Typically those poems involve syntactic phrase divisions (as here) of lines into sub-parts of 2/2/3 beats (or, in the Chinese, characters). It's a pattern that seems fairly "natural" (in both Chinese and English); but such nature is no doubt nurtured by example.

Fri Oct 13, 05:43:00 AM PDT  

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