by: Alfred Kreymborg (1883-1966)
- F you stand
where I stand--
- In my boudoir--
- (don't mind my shaving--
- I can't afford a barber)--
- you can see into her boudoir--
- you can see milady--
- her back, her green smock, the bench she loves--
- her hair always down in the morning--
- (the sun conspiring with the curtains?)--
- reddish brown,
- with ringlets at the tips--
- the hairdresser called this A.M.--
- him I have to, I want to afford.
- Unhappily, you can't see her face--
- only the back of her small round head--
- and a glint of her ears, two glints--
- but her hands, alas, not her hands, though
- unhappily, you can hear them.
- It isn't a clavichord--
- only a satinwood square--
- bought cheap at an auction--
- but it might be, you'd think it,
- a clavichord, bequeathed by the past--
- it sounds quite like feathers.
- Bach? Yes, who else could that be--
- whom else would you have in the morning--
- with the sun and milady?
- Grave? Yes, but so is the sun--
- not always? No, but please don't ponder--
- listen, hear the theme--
- hear it dig into the earth of harmonies.
- A dissonance? No, 'twas only a stone--
- which powders into particles with the rest.
- Now follow the theme--
- down, down, into the soil--
- calling, evoking the spirit of birth--
- you hear those new tones--
- that sprinkle, that burst--
- roulade and arpeggio?
- Gently now, firmly--
- with solemn persuasion--
- hiding a whimsic raillery--
- (does a dead king raise his forefinger?)--
- though they would, though they might--
- no phrase can escape--
- the theme, the theme rules.
- Unhappy? Nay, nay--
- they ought to be happy--
- each is because of, in spite of, the other--
- that is democracy.
- He can't spare a particle--
- that priest of the morning sun--
- A mistake? Yes indeed, but--
- all the more human--
- would you have her drum like a schoolmaster--
- abdominable right note at the right time--
- in the morning, so early--
- or ever at all?
- She'll play it again--
- oh don't, please don't clap--
- you'll disturb them!
- Here, try my tobacco--
- good, a deep pipeful, eh?--
- an aromatic blend--
- my other extravagance--
- yes, I'll join you, but wait--
- I must dry my face!
POEMS BY ALFRED KREYMBORG
"Preludes" is reprinted
from The Masque of Poets. Ed. Edward J. O'Brien. New York:
Dodd, Mead and Company, 1918.