Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 9
Richard Zimdars, Editor
The Quartet Crowd
Scarce-breathing sphinxes, row on stonefaced row
Glued to the plush as if some mesmerist
Had stunned them, while onstage the four with fiddles
Bob like weeds in the wind-how can they claim
To love the sounds their bodies so resist?
Fierce listeners are one of music's riddles.
The casual, there for spouses or self-show,
Uncrinkling candies, fingering the program,
Tapping the pulse, collect their killing stare.
Their mask of elevation is a sham
To shield a wobbly edifice whose walls
Are time refashioned into space, a dream
Of motive, motion, theme and countertheme,
A form so fragile and interior
The least snapped handbag or insistent whisper
Snuffs out a stanchion and the vision falls.
They come as masons to a shrine of air.
"The Quartet Crowd" from Facing the Music by
Bruce Berger, © 2014 by Bruce Berger. Used by
permission of Conundrum Press, a division of
Samizdat Publishing Group, LLC (conundrumpress.com). Any third party use of this material,
outside of this publication, is prohibited.
Bruce Berger's poems about music have appeared
in The New York Times, Poetry, New Letters and
other publications, and have been collected
in Facing the Music. Though a writer by trade, he
studied piano at the Yale School of Music, has
played professionally in the United States and
Spain, and currently gives benefit piano recitals in