Posts Tagged ‘erik satie’


yet another poem inspired by this composition by Erik Satie



You wonder why I haunt you

like moonlight, why I come to you

like morning fog, dream thick and cool,

why I steep myself into your thoughts

like bergamot in black tea.

You wonder why I seldom leave you,

why I slip into your silences

the way rye darkly slips into bread.


It is my work to give you shivers,

make you tremble, make you still.

It is my work to make you fall in love

with the darkness inside yourself. It is my work

to be the unexpected black swan, and you,

it is your work to be the night pond.



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inspired by Erik Satie, Gnossienne 1



may everything I think I know

about myself slip to the floor—

straight jacket, hair shirt, corset—

may whatever remains stay naked,

unable to don even cashmere, even silk

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   inspired by Erik Satie, Gnossienne 1



same phrases, same sighs,

we’ve said them, sighed them before—

and each time the chance

to find (mid-syllable) a door, a new wildflower,

a raincoat, blue, perhaps a wing



(to hear the music, click here. This direction is given when the initial theme is repeated)

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inspired by Erik Satie, Gnossienne 1



let me speak only in starlight

and let me wear only song

teach me to love in a minor key

and let the night

be long

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after Erik Satie’s Gnossienne 2



for you a song

with no measures

and this tessellating metronome

that ticks only love and slips

into each moment a forever





Dear friends,


You have perhaps guessed by now that I am doing a whole series of five-line poems on Satie’s Gnossiennes—five lines for the five lines of the staff. And each poem is titled based on the directions he wrote above the staves instructing the musician how to feel the music. There will be quite a few more … they’re really fun.



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inspired by Gnossienne 2, by Erik Satie



the way morning sun

touches the sunflower leaf—

you may say that’s not kindness,

it’s just how it is. exactly.

let me love like that

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from Erik Satie’s Gnossienne 2


like an almost breeze

like sunshine slanting through

afternoon clouds—

touch me like that

like the rain I’m not sure is there

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Thank you for the Gnossienne No.2,

and for the directions

you wrote above the staves.

“With amazement,” you wrote,

at the start of the piece.

That is what I told my hands

as they bumbled tonight

through the melody.

Thank you for the melody.

Just today I saw

with amazement the four plover eggs

still intact in the nest,

though I could tell

by the wet silt around them

that the high water

had covered them.

My friend said she thought

they might not hatch.

I watched as the mother plover

ran at the river’s edge,

pretending she had a broken wing,

attempting to distract us.

“I think they will hatch,”

I said, though the words were said more

out of longing than belief.

Sometimes longing

is all we have.

“Don’t leave,”

you wrote in the score.

That’s what I thought

later today when

I saw the lonesome

duckling in the pond—

no mother, no father,

no other baby ducks.

I longed to be a mother duck,

to know what a baby duck

might need.

As it is, I gave it space,

knowing sometimes

giving space

is the most generous thing

we can do.

I do not want space.

Tonight I saw a picture

of my friend with her newborn girl,

both of them naked,

skin to skin. That

is what I want.

“With great kindness,”

you say, and that

is the way I want to live

this song of life—

in amazement and with

great kindness—to know

myself as the kind of melody

that might be played

poorly and still sound

beautiful because

the hands that played me

did it “lightly, with intimacy,”

though the keys keep changing

though the timing is unmarked,

though the song doesn’t end

anywhere near where it begins.




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