Chatters on the concrete walkways,
Echoing among the tiled roofs and stucco walls.
The lamplights cast haloes into the cool
Of the mist that drapes like a silk screen over my eyes.
The white spire
Of the Mormon temple rises,
Like the turret of some strange fairy castle
Over the roofs in my apartment complex,
Ensnaring in wonder
The crouching, sullen
Daemon of the night.
Stepping inside these familiar walls,
I shut out the rain
Though its patter still resounds
Against the metal drain-pipe near my door.
It reminds me of...
I place Scriabin in the carousel.
Familiar notes fall
Like soft rain:
Spectral, iridescent rain
That swirls and swishes in crystalline, eldritch harmonies.
Just one lone piano conjuring will-'o-the-wisps
And blue, lunar radiance
And it is no man that sits behind the keys
But a wind, a wind with many fingers,
Chording the leaves in the gloom of some remote forest.
I raise a wine-glass to my lips
And taste the bittersweet ichor of my life.
I'll be leaving here soon,
Gone with the West-Wind
To the colder climes where I was born:
Perhaps to return,
Perhaps to go wherever the wind will take me.
Thus, another movement ends. I await the next,
And as the phantom piano moves in procession
Over the later works of that strange, solipsistic Russian,
I hear too well a resonance in my own spirit:
A sequence of short vignettes, complex and enticing,
Passionate even, in their ethereal way,
But there is neither joy nor solid substance in them
And when they pass,
It is like the whisper of paper as it falls from the table.
George Chadderdon © 1999