Monday, April 27, 2009

April poem no. 27

We saw the opera "The Birds" yesterday afternoon, a long forgotten masterpiece by one of the lost generation of composers affected by the Holocaust, Walter Braunfels. Part of LA Opera's Recovered Voices series, it is a lush, late Romantic work reminiscent of Strauss and Wagner, with a little Mendelssohn thrown in. Walter Braunfels freely adapted the ancient Greek comic-dramatist Aristophanes's play The Birds to compose what he described as an "airy play of imagination...everything here is a game, a metaphor." It is a beautiful production.

Today's April PAD prompt is to write a poem about longing. So, I took the longing portrayed in the opera between a bird, the nightingale, and a man to create my poem.

“The Birds”
(With apologies to Walter Braunfels)

The nightingale, bedecked in blue chiffon
and silver beads,
her winged-hand pressed to her heart
cooed in high soprano notes
as she gazed at the man sleeping
on a nearby cloud.
Her voice stirred him
and they met
keeping time note for note
until locked together
in embrace.

In opera sopranos and tenors
sing out their longing,
and declarations of undying love.
Sometimes it ends happily
but in most cases not.
This longing between bird and man
of course was not meant to be.
Really – even in Greek mythology
how could it?

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