Friday, June 18, 2010

Bach Cello Suite No. 1, Prelude

Poem of the Day:
John Ashberry's "The Template"
Where Shall I Wander

Having lived in Boston for nearly three weeks now my diurnal tasks have begun to take on a rhythm; schedules have been written down and committed to memory. Such is a template, a preliminary mold of each and every day.

Ashberry writes of this 'template' in regards to poetry. He writes, "The template was always there, its existence seldom/questioned or suspected" (lines 1-2). He goes on to make clear the reason for such a template, calling it "[A]n imaginary railing/disappeared into the forest" (lines 3-4); it is what sorts out the wild.

Schedules are much like this, they allow us to sift through the chaos and make sense (to some degree) of our existence. Nonetheless, schedules face the plunder that is the unanticipated.

Ashberry, in reference to poetry and raw poetic material (that which a poet writes about), talks of the unexpected, the 'anti-template' if you will. The words, "It seemed good, the clotted darkness that came every day" (line 10) end his poem. There is so much in this line; it is the juiciest in his piece. First, "[I]t seemed good." The word "seemed" is troubling; it is indefinite and uncertain. Next, "clotted." The "darkness" is liquid-like but still maintains a sense of the solid; there is form, schedule, but also un-form and chaos. And lastly, Ashberry writes "darkness." Is this "clotted" thing, this unexpectedness, dark because it is bad? Or evil?

I think "darkness" merely refers back to the nature of the beast; the unexpected cannot be seen. Perhaps then Ashberry should have written of the "clotted unlight" as to not force the connotations that abound with the word 'dark.'

Regardless, Bach's Cello Suite No. 1, Prelude was part of my "clotted darkness" today. A cellist has taken up house in the Harvard Square T stop, different from the electric guitarist that normally haunts the underground station. As I stepped onto the train en route to the library my cellist began to play Bach's most famous (and my most favorite) piece. It was like a farewell, a wish of good health, an adieu. And as the train exited the station and rolled on into the darkness of the underground the cellist's music, the unexpected but not unwelcome sound, was light and bright and not scary.

A Poem A Day Audrey


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