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New Poems
January/February 2010

Andantino
from D.959

Not much interpretation needed here,
It seems at first.
For once the most mechanical of players
Is as valuable as Schnabel.

Isaiah Berlin specified this piece
For his funeral. Listen. 
Here, hedge-hopping from the blue horizon
Comes that little phrase again, straight out of Proust.

Play it again, Katsumi. And she does,
As if arranging flowers:
The echo where you never quite expect it.
I wake in hospital. My mother's here

With sweets and comic books and a lead soldier.
I was saved by penicillin.
And now here comes the bit that tells you he
Could not possibly have died at 31.

And here's that same phrase flying low, so near
And yet so far. So far, 
So good, like a lovely woman smiling.
May it never, never stop. Not this, not now.

So some interpretation needed, then,
If just to be aware 
What won't work here. It wants a master's tact.
That swine Cortot, that sweet man Rubinstein,

Both brought the fine touch that leaves well alone.
Here she falls short
But not by far. Respect the intervals, 
Trying not to interfere. Brava! Well done.

Fly back to Tokyo with all my thanks,
Young lady. Third at Leeds,
You leave me happy here, and pleased for him,
Where he lies buried next to Beethoven.

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