Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Scene, 1 Follen St.
By Brendan Owen Keenan

For Christina

Old joints creak as the floorboards do

When hollow bones, animate, push
Yellowed ivory keys, surface split on some,
Smooth on others;

Every hit from a hammer awakens them anew, 

Long copper bells lurch and groan
Out of rest, first into a howl,
Then into resonance in sympathy with each other;

Hands, tools of the dread Artist,

Are no more just bone, but flesh;
Cold dust becomes warm perfume,
And an audience hears pedals click;

Allegretto in A-flat major, it quickly changes

To F minor, and every bar in three
Calls a new figure to life;
Summoned by delicate, careful strikes.

The piano keys are skeleton keys in her hands;

They unlock hearts as she plays them,
The hearts long dead from oblivion
But remembered now;

The Artist’s youthful, flushed face

Never lifts from the keyboard,
But she sees and she knows the listeners

That she conjured by melody;

Unlife, but not so, the atmosphere is
Convivial and solemn attendant to
The Artist’s lead, herself following the

Composer’s word, unforgotten, unlike the Artist.

But Dominants and Tonics are the only chords now,

And the spectators know the coda; they know
The arrival of the penultimate bar
And the final cadence.

Her youthful face lifts, then darkens into bone;
The revenants applaud then depart,
The air chills, and snow falls
Outside the frosted windows.

Cracked keyboard, creaking floor, and dusty air,

The love given by the Artist is gone;
An unobserved occurrence, occult, it happened

And no one noticed; the scene remains unknown.

For now. 

© Brendan Owen Keenan, 2012. All rights reserved.