Philip Dacey

Elizabeth Wolff: Cento Sonnet at Her Piano Master Class

It’s a long road; don’t spend all you have yet.
Playing softly pulls the audience in.
For a passage like this, you have to have a game plan.
Wait an hour and a half before the last note.

Schubert’s such a song-writer; take advantage of that.
Now we’ve gotten out of the quicksand.
A bigger right hand, but not a bigger left hand.
Over-, over-, overcompensate.

Go for it: think roller coaster, think seasick.
Let the audience anticipate the coming magic.
Separate the filigree from the tune
or baby and bath water will both go down the drain.
It’s so dramatic, the soft pedal is sufficient.
Too fast means less charm.  What does the keyboard want?

“The word I love best in Lorca is ‘quiero’—‘I want.’”
                                          —Robert Bly
Pronounced key-air-oh.
And roll the “r,” please.
What do you want
and when do you want it?
I want to be all want,

not someone who when asked
what he wants says,
“I don’t care.”  I want to care
about wanting.  Quiero. 
Yes, but want what?

I want to become the music
of the word “quiero”
so that I cannot be translated
without the loss of
the very syllables of myself.

I want to carry everywhere with me
the single hard sound of “want,”
like a stone I can take out
and pass from hand to hand
whenever I want, loving its heft.

But mostly I want to want
nothing, that greatest of all objects
of desire, the heavy key
that falls through the air and
opens everything.

Rondel for Rilke

Rilke left his daughter in a Berlin flat
to tryst with angels only he could see.
He hit the road to chase down poetry.
Home is no place for a poet to be at.

Since artists need their freedom to create

and wouldn’t wives and children all agree?
Rilke left his daughter in a Berlin flat,
preferring angels only he could see.

No one would call him a domestic cat.
He said to stay in one place is to be
nowhere; dad and daughter lived so separately,
she didn’t recognize him when they met.
He left his daughter in a Berlin flat.

Philip Dacey’s latest of thirteen books of poems is Church of the Adagio (Rain Mountain Press, 2014), and his previous book, Gimme Five, won the 2012 Blue Light Press Book Award. His work appears in Scribner's Best American Poetry 2014. The winner of three Pushcart Prizes, Dacey is the author of complete volumes of poems about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Eakins, and New York City. After an eight-year post-retirement adventure as a resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, he moved in 2012 to the Lake District of Minneapolis.             



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