In my teaching I find that much of what I’m telling my students is an attempt to undo what they’ve learned about literature and writing. I believe in the value of knowing how to write a five-paragraph essay, but to write a poem, you have to set that knowledge aside and enter a state of mind where planning won’t get you anywhere. Willa Cather doesn’t mince words about this issue in the epigraph for this poem.
Before the Concert
“The thing worth while is always unplanned. Any art that is a result of preconcerted plans is a dead baby."
That smush of chatter, orchestral cacophony,
dimming lights, perfume, and cologne tickles
the mind, riles the blood, calls forth the divine
The way the word décolletage
shimmers as lexical pornography
all through the auditorium with the girls
and ladies having harnessed their bosoms
so as both to hide and display
inviting all creation to sing and dance.
We’ll get Rachmaninoff or Tchaikovsky
on our way to the Crossroads or the Canal
We don’t quite know what we want,
but we recognize it when we hear it--song
the lightning bolt jolting us back to life.
© 2017 David Huddle
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