Dearest, note how these two are alike:
This harpsicord pavane by Purcell
And the racer’s twelve-speed bike.
The machinery of grace is always simple.
This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected
To another of concentric gears,
Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected,
Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers.
And in the playing, Purcell’s chords are played away.
So this talk, or touch if I were there,
Should work its effortless gadgetry of love,
Like Dante’s heaven, and melt into the air.
If it doesn’t, of course, I’ve fallen. So much is chance,
So much agility, desire, and feverish care,
As bicyclists and harpsicordists prove
Who only by moving can balance,
Only by balancing move.
-- Michael Donaghy
I used to be a pianist and a hiker, and these days I typically use a wheelchair when I leave the house, and my RSI means the most music I usually do is singing. It's been an... interesting transition to make, to say the least; and speaking of interesting transitions, to this day if I am walking late at night I will shift my gait from masculine-typical to feminine-typical and back again depending on what I think's warranted by my surroundings.
This all ties in with bodies, of course: the body as vehicle; motion between places, between states. Here is a thing I love: the way that we can suggest motion through structure
, through rhythm, through assonance and onomatopoeia.
And we can also suggest stillness or constraint: I mentioned, yesterday, the strictures of poetry and how they relate to bodies; but I will also never forget the unseen poem in my GCSE English Literature exam, which was about being imprisoned - and was in sonnet form.
Robert Frost, of course, manages motion and stillness all at once
And so: this is a way for us to talk about tension, about change of state, about - again - loss, but also about not having to be good
, and it's not in the words, or at least not quite or not only in them
Let's be clear: the poems I link to are not required reading for engaging in comments. They're just things I think you might be interested in, at least some of them.
And so, predictably, I am going to ask you to add to my own hoard of poems: what are your favourite examples of poetry in motion?
I apologise that I have not, anywhere in this post, included any trains - but what I will leave you with (and oh, but this leads in to my next post for you) is a tightrope.
This is the word tightrope. Now imagine
a man, inching across it in the space
between our thoughts. He holds our breath.
There is no word net.
You want him to fall, don't you?
I guessed as much; he teeters but succeeds.
The word applause is written all over him.
-- Carol Ann Duffy