Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Garden of Verse: Melancholy Evenings Recollected in Tranquility

     It's still April, and we're back at it. The prompt for April 17 by the website, a site dedicated to encouraging poets to write a new poem every day in April, called for writing a verbal nocturne.
          Here's how the site put it:

"Today, I challenge you to write a nocturne. In music, a nocturne is a composition meant to be played at night, usually for piano, and with a tender and melancholy sort of sound. Your nocturne should aim to translate this sensibility into poetic form! Need more inspiration? Why not listen to one of history’s most famous nocturnes, Chopin’s Op. 9 No. 2?"

      I listened to Chopin's Nocturne, Op. 9 No.2. I listened to a lot of other piano music loosely described as "similar" -- including Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," which is not melancholic, but romantic and just generally inspiring.  My poem probably owes more to the enlivening effect of listening to good, strong music than to the delicacy of sentiment required by the Nocturne, nevertheless here it is:


           Not Songs of Spring, but November Moans

Rain at dusk and steely gray all afternoon.
I'll finish off that Dubonnet and straighten up,
After all I may die soon.
Darkness falls at four o'clock, time for a cup
Of bitters with a little gloom.
Do I dare to twist a dial and hear the latest cover-up?
Some silence settles on the room
Now please get dressed and get some din
Before la tristesse barges in...

Oh no I fear, the darling fiend's already here
I feel him stretch his hand for me
To bind me up in weightless coils of SAD and subtle tears.
I'll trace my nights on leaves of tea:
The moon, the rain, and the restless sea.

       And if you're truly interested in learning more about nocturnes, not the parody but the straight gin, see Robert Wexelblatt's poem "Nocturnes," which (wholly coincidentally) appears on this month's at: