Listening to Chopin’s Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 28, No. 15

This entry is part 10 of 63 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2011


“What if I find nothing but moonlight?”

“Then you will have found the reflection of a reflection.”

                           ~ attributed to Chopin and Delacroix

Listening to the Raindrop sonata
this afternoon, now that the temperature
has taken a sudden plunge and it feels

truly like fall, I think of how the composer
alternately burned and languished in the last
years of his short life, traveling to or from

Vienna and Paris, then Mallorca and Scotland:
afflicted by nostalgia, weakened by what
burns in genius— flame at both ends

of a wax taper, slim as any of his fingers.
Too spent, in the end, to even go up and
down stairs on his own, did he miss

the view of quiet streets in the morning—
the way light rimmed the limbs of cherry trees
in the garden and cobblestones in the square,

or glinted off Warsaw’s cathedrals at noon;
the prescient gaze of cats whose owners
did not allow them to roam the streets,

watching anyhow over all they regarded from
the sill, behind curtained windows? At the end
of a Japanese role playing game for Xbox and

PlayStation called “Eternal Sonata”, the spirit of
Furederikku Furansowa Shopan rises out
of his body to play the piano one last time.

However his name is said, its syllables
linger a little: sostenuto, the way water-
drops slide down the glass panes, the way

each prismed surface looks sheathed in another
skin; the way each bud in the garden might be
a heart embalmed, floating in a globe of fluid.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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