Poetry Friday: “Piano” by Pablo Neruda

Midway through the concert
the piano grew pensive,
ignored in its gravedigger’s frock coat;
but later it opened its mouth
—the jaws of leviathan:
the pianist then entered his piano
and deployed like a crow;
something happened, like a silvery
downfall
of pebbles
or a hand
in a pond,
unobserved:
a trickle of sweetness
like rain
on the smooth of a bell,
light fell
through the padlocks and bolts of a house,
to the depths,
an emerald crossed the abysses,
the sea gave its sound
the night
and the dews
and the meadows,
the steepest ascents of the thunderbolt,
the symmetrical rose sang aloud
and quietness circled the milk of the morning.

So melody grew
in a dying piano
the naiad’s
investiture
rose on the catafalque
from a margin of teeth,
piano, pianist,
and concerto plunged downward, oblivious,
til all was sonority,
torrential beginnings,
consummate gradation, a bell tower’s clarities.

Then the man in the tree
of his music came back to us.
He came down like
a blundering crow on its course
or a lunatic dandy:
the whale-mouth closed up
and the man walked away
to a silence.

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