STRADIVARI’S GHOST SPEAKS TO THE FUTURE


Look for me

through the murky water of the years.

The sun comes in like a distant fire.

One of the fish in a school

is me.  


Or imagine my shape as a cello, if you like,

with a shirt hung on it.  Then arms, then legs.

Use any face you want --nobody ever painted mine.


Can you hear me?  

I will call to Francesca or to one of the children.

Listen -- I‘ll test an instrument.  Listen.

I’m sitting at my bench on the roof in fine weather,

surrounded by shavings.

Below is the din of Cremona. 

Do you see my tools laid out,

the violins wet with varnish drying on a rack?


I’m only asking you to imagine

what you yourself have heard and seen:

a man at work with his chisels and planes,

his patterns, his woods, his hands, his ears.


Each decision means work, refusals, time,

the wearying demands of perfection.

I made perfect things. 


I made violins which hold the whole world.


But I beg you now, imagine  a life for me:

the way Francesca could say Antonio

so that I heard nothing else,

the mornings when we stayed in bed

until the children climbed in laughing. 

Days with the sun on the river and birds flying.

Please.  Make me live for a moment

before I return to the tower of my name.

I was a man

until I turned to music.












 

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