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Friday, February 13, 2015

Scarlatti - James Schuyler

last night
locked in
the castle
of pride and
egotism
goes on two
legs
          Webern
orchestrated a
sky the clouds
move to a
bass
on
an instrument not
an oboe, gray
on light-gray in
blue and green
goes by
on glass
          Schoenberg
serenades with
a view through
to where
a girl
swings
her
body displaced
against the
pull of her
hands head-
high on the
ropes
          night
before the night
before last
unlocked the castle
of pride and
egotism
          bliss
clouds stand
and go by










I found in my research that this poem was not published during Schuyler's lifetime.  I don't often like saying this, but I think there's a good reason for that.  The composer referenced by the title, Domenico Scarlatti, was famous for his baroque and early classical music, and was highly influential.  Nowhere in the poem is he reflected except perhaps in the repetition of phrases, such as goes by, go by, and pride and egotism (things which were largely absent in Scarlatti's life and music).

The references to other more modern composers (Webern and Schoenberg) seem wholly unrelated, both to Scarlatti and to the poem's poetic content.  Perhaps I just don't "get it" but I feel like this poem is a failure of expression.  It is not musical, and that seems like a crime against the names used in the poem.

2 comments:

  1. Have you ever read the short--and I mean SHORT story, Scarlatti Tilt? I love it!

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