Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Exile (Poem)

The Exile
for Frederic Chopin
(1810 - 1849)

Only shadows enter my tent
      as men pass between me and the sunset.
                        ~ Ezra Pound


The pride in Warsaw fails,

Its absence a kind of embarrassment —
like that first lesson on your childhood piano

            when the notes ran around
            in a panic
            heavy and smudged
            the mark of a fist unpleased.

This is the story of an evening in Poland.

            Your fingers slipped
            on a fragment of time.

            A permanent dream
            walked upside down
            in your hands.


Catherine's lover,
the former King Stanislaus,
imagines crown and scepter unbesieged.

But on his throne night lies

And in the pockets of his streets
soldiers shuffle death
like a deck of marked cards.


What does it matter
the smoke of a burning city
rises like your last audience

your cafes
conspire in a Russian tongue

men in your beloved country
touch their women darkly?

At just the right moment
your once-denied hands
will speak to the deaf
with their own gestures.

Mazurkas will lighten your moon-starved room.

Copyright Maureen E. Doallas. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

Glynn said...

I like this, Maureen. I like it a lot. I can hear the piano in the background.