I recieved the following poem from American poet, Robert Kelly, who composed it during my senior recital at the Bard Conservatory. It was a very moving gift with a lot of inspiring and puzzling thoughts weaved into the text(ure).

AMONG THE BASSOON 

 

                                                            for David Adam Nagy

 

Flügel, grand piano

piano with a wing

uplifted,

             shadow of the raised top

on the conservatory wall—

gnomon of the sundial

cast by the low-slung light

dramatic lighting

                              and the bassoon.

 

2.

Bach first.  Prelude

to everything

else,

          he

is our B.C., the primal one,

the tone

             cast on all time to come

the shadow

of the bassoon rises and falls.

 

This instrument

always sounds wrong,

comes from outside music

from a land of being,

of suffering and running away

and coming home,

                              wrong

by its nature, the way nature

is wrong too,

                    as if a beast had to die

in pain to breathe such sounds,

 

but that’s only natural,

nature’s like that,

                              sings

truest as it goes.

Goes away.

                    Shadows

dimming into the dark.

Cherry blossoms

falling in the prime.

 

3.

Or on our little island

there is a single solitary tree

in the graveyard,

                              a paulownia

or princess tree,

its flowers come before the leaves

and when those fragrant purple blossoms fall

they leave seed capsules behind,

pointed ovals,

                    hollow, cracking open, hard,

hollow as wood, hollow as the sound of the bassoon.

 

4.

He transposes what Beethoven

heard (or wanted to hear)

on the cello for the bassoon.

A rounded box with strings

becomes a man with breath

pouting into a hollow tube

though quivering reeds.

 

American day aj, day of the reed,

tube, rushes, human spine

up which all the messages pass

or sing, trying to reach the mother brain

so far below the music.

 

5.

Seize the moment

the music doesn’t last,

the pretty girl is pretty

for a minute

then the tide comes in

goes out again and the house

is empty, sea-birds

noisy on the cliffs,

if you’re lucky there’s

still a wind for you to hear.

 

6.

The look on our faces

is to be heard.

Listeners are performers too.

Eyes open in the light

receiving light, the ears

too are ridden by some

sorrow that comes before

anything we ever knew

to make us sad,

                                        a requiem

built into the nature of the world,

 

a mortal sorrow

before anyone ever died,

like that village

the Buddha sent the mother to

to find her dead child.

 

7.

All the bodies with their breaths and fingers

all together now understanding out loud,

make us be the animal we pretend to be,

human love human fear human history

and we are really nothing at all but

bright joyous spirit playing brief on a field of ash

  

                                               13 April 2013