Pastorale On Hearing a Rachmaninoff Concerto

The languor of Rachmaninoff breathes
Through the humid air the scent of the garden,
A bright pastoral scene of sun under an azure ceiling.
Caesar's Palace?
With its denizens bustling forth in all their modern apparel,
Shopping or en route to the bewildering electric radiance
Of its inner sanctum of bars and casinos?

No indeed. Rather a Victorian estate, the kind
Sporting a vast garden and orchard,
Where the air of the modern wears itself faintly,
Like a perfume donned with subtlety and moderation,
Simplicity made sophisticated but without the garish discord
Of hammer and piston, the shouts of political demonstration,
The whorish lights, and ghoulish fancies
Of nightclubs blaring disco and dance-mixes,
The swirling, scintillating nightmare of chaotic luminance:
Morbid fads, fascinations with unspeakable acts,
Transient icons for the Philistine
Damned to traverse forever the bowels of a lurid limbo.

Away, death fancies!
The dream is not lost,
But echoes in each cascade of arpeggios,
A waterfall from the well-springs of Nature,
Nature which begets Life,
Life which begets new Life ad infinitum,
Unceasing, yet its restlessness is of a tranquil kind
The stir of wind through leaf, a lady's fingers through a harp.
The daylight murmurs, coaxes waves from the fabric of Time;
I shall sleep late again in this heat,
This lush heat which makes all living things
Rejoice in an airy, idle slumber.
Perceive now the essence of summer!

George Chadderdon © 1994