Academic journal article The Hudson Review

A Compensation of Sorts

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

A Compensation of Sorts

Article excerpt

To die and be transformed into a name,

to be a star, like Keats, yet never know it

because in his day his brand didn't exist-

such is the unpredictable afterlife of those

who disappear into the age beneath their egos

to be scooped up into posthumous fame.

Yeats might have caught it in a couplet:

Keats was born when suffering John Keats died

and the poet of Ode to Autumn sprang from his side.

Or think of Beethoven opening in silence

to the knock of the Fifth Symphony.

Two hundred years later, here he is

trumpeting its message to millions

who casually switch on and watch

as if it were a multi-temporal game

to pluck out of airspace music of such

vigorous heroic aspiration. However vain,

what digital master today dares do the same?

The maestro on the podium, feature and gesture,

summons inspiration for his orchestra:

Bows, don't be afraid of the strings! …

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