Friday, January 18, 2008

578. Musical Moments, Outside A Graveyare - Dannie Abse

One day, the piano has all the colours of
the orchestra; another day, it brings forth
sound that come from other worlds.

Edwin Fischer

Many nearer than you have gone, too many,
so your going does not touch me deeply,
a one-fingered piano note only
soft as a caress, sounding regret
and then again regret, diminuendo,
spare––hardly a Wagnerian funeral march;
yet I want to say, 'Sorry, Miss Crouch,'
now that you are dismissed forever.
You were so unassuming and gentle.
If there's a heaven, that's you address.

Once, after the war, I observed you
at a romantic Moiseiwitsch concert,
at Cardiff's plush Empire (so soon after,
demolished, replaced by a neon-lit Superstore).
You sat thrilled in the stalls, eyes raptly shut
––not in the insanity of prayer but
as if that music was making love to you.

Now I stare at church gargoyles, church spire,
then close my eyes also. Wait! Be patient! Look!
The Assumption of Miss Crouch. There! Up there!
Several hundred feet above the spire,
blessed and sedate in evening dress,
rising slowly above Glamorganshire,
you, old lady, playing the piano––
not an upright piece of furniture either,
but a concert-hall, exalted Bechstein,
its one black wing uplifted and beating,
bringing forth sounds from another world,
yes, you and the piano triumphantly rising
between the clouds, high and higher.

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