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THE SYMPHONY CONDUCTED FROM THE PIANO

I usually sleep like a Philistine
Dragged there by his wife, drugged
With the business of poems in my head,
Waiting for intermission, to get down
To the bar for a beer or whiskey.
During Brahms, my soul-master,
I doze, dreaming of Dvorak, his "New World
Symphony," or, during Schubert, my god,
I drift to a plateau of gauchos
Riding the pampas to a water hole.
Once, I awakened: Bach's Fifth
Piano Concerto, the second movement cantaline,
That afternoon you played it, in memoriam,
For Kennedy. I wept and went home:
Wept, because no poem could say it;
Went home, because that was the place
To go, the place -- how shall I say it --
Where I could put it, again and again, on the stereo.
MAC HAMMOND

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