Academic journal article Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought


Academic journal article Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought


Article excerpt

One bird often whistled the notes, not the words, of the beginning of Swanee River-"Way down upon the Swa . . ."-without ever feeling inclined to add ". . . nee River," even after hearing the whole phrase practiced hundreds of times on the piano.

-"Why You Can't Teach a Starling to Sing," David Rothenberg

"The music keeps going and never stops,"

I tell my son-"Until the bar line?"

Of course, until the bar line.

He moves his fingers into place with effort,

As if moving in the third person;

As if they are thin sausages on sticks.

I tell him the story about Mozart slipping

Out of bed, darting downstairs, unable

To let a truncated cadence dangle

And suffocate, incomplete, in the air. "How

do you know when it is finished?" he asks,

and I play the changes, those deliberate roads.

In the mornings, above my bed, the insistent wrong

Of his notes buzzes like a trapped fly.

Slower! I croak, or And again! The generations

Coalesce into singularity: a chorus of mothers

And correction, layered like paired mirrors

Around this moment, this music, these words.

The years slip off in sheets, whispering.

In the practice room, I would close my eyes

To better place the music, and awaken later,

Having descended through a jangling

Sleep, head on the fallboard, breathing

In and out the slices of surrounding song. …

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