Alan: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ "The Lark Ascending" seems to vibrate midway between heaven and earth, like the skylark itself in its spring display. Hearing it now, 100 years after its composition, I can’t help but feel a melancholy pang running through the promise of renewed life.
Needy for something, punching “on,”
filling the car at random –
last slow-spooling notes of “The Lark Ascending.”
Quiet, he stands in shadow,
transfixed by some half-seen motion
above the glare of stubble fields.
Follow that lone violin
arabesqueing upward to vanish
in an ache of blue.
He turns, retraces his steps
while the bird, invisible now,
still rises, singing in his mind.
A leaf curlicues across the road.
“Poplar,” I think.
“Still green,” I think.
“Summer’s ending now,” I think.
Nancy: Picking up speed, the year rushes on; I feel trapped in a car on the Coney Island ferris wheel. Stop! Stop! Too late. I shoot out into space.
September, Breathes The Meadow
Visible breath of September
gray of the neck feathers of the dove
there, and there
made real in the seeding grass
translucent as the leaves of the iris
gracefully yielding up life
the breath of August
was often French horns
might have been flutes
spoke with the strength of pan pipes
a pulse of stone
a pulse of life
the meadow is silent
one elm tree standing alone
fir, eternally green
a quick stop and start of the heart
I see and I know
that the meadow is breathing September.