Penguin Poets

Pattiann Rogers - Author

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ISBN 9780143113348 | 128 pages | 25 Mar 2008 | Penguin | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
Additional Formats:
  • Colorado Book Award Finalist
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A lively new collection from one of America's most celebrated contemporary poets

Denise Levertov has called acclaimed poet Pattiann Rogers "a visionary of reality, perceiving the material world with such intensity of response that impulse, intention, meaning, interconnections beyond the skin of appearance are revealed." In her new collection, Rogers takes the reader on an exploration of human endeavor. Full of color and action, wonder and fear, these poems investigate, reflect upon, and create experiences relative to music, art, and theater, as well as to the universe and its creatures, large and small. They are distinguished by the penetrating vision and avid imagination that have made Rogers one of today's most outstanding poets.

Symphony in Three Movements

1. Lost in the Heart of the Concert

I thread through the assembly
between the rows of violins,
the ritual bows rising and falling.
I confess to the oboes, counsel
with the wisdom of the flutes,
linger in the church of the momentarily
stilled tambourines and timpani.

All the while Satan in white
satin tux follows me silently,
his white patent leather pumps
with the soft soles keeping time
almost imperceptibly to the beat
of the baton at the altar.
His synchonrization is perfect.

I try to avoid him, wandering
the hallway between the intoning
of the cellos, hiding among
the statuesque faith of the bass
fiddles. I draw the nearest one
to me, feel its deep strum
in my belly, press against its body.
He peers straight at me
through the strings of the harp.

He understands, he forgives.
Abiding and patient, he spies
on me in the blue of his pale
eyes as I kneel praying
with the woodwinds. He seems
to pray himself; beseeching
it appears. He stays so close
I can smell the ice-cold silver
of his hair, his boutonniere
of violets, an occasional
scent of rare whiskey.

He willingly enters the cadence
Of heaven beside me. I allow him.
He hums by heart, along
with my heart, the good news
of the horns, the hallowed
score of the first and second violas.
He is becoming the clean white
seed of reverence. He takes
my hand. Neither I nor the flaring
sun of the trumpets can detect
any longer his black glass skeleton.
He kisses my cheek. I say he is
as innocent and constant as beauty.

No canticle, no hymm of salvation
from the celestial, can ever save us now.

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