When I think of debts (other than those to family), I think first of libraries and librarians – God bless them every one. A college professor for more than 30 years, I taught first at Oregon State and since 1992 at Linfield College. Five books of poems carry my name on their spines, including an Oregon Book Award winner (1989) and the most recent two from Jessie Lendennie’s Salmon Poetry, which, delightfully, has a mailing address without a single number in it.
All Classical Radio
Find the right station and be
alive at Lincoln Center, plush seats
spendy as your first rent, acoustics
better than any shower. At the interval,
buy ice-cream. You don’t need to know anyone
or talk politics or crime. The famous conductor
returns to your applause, nods, raises her baton.
And what you had worried about
and what you had false-promised yourself
and whatever had insinuated into your good ear
hope and its regret – none of that stays,
none of it knows how to hear harmony,
as hands grasp bows and frogs, necks and valves
and brass bells, the flautist under his moustache
exhaling, saxophone notes a woman’s lips make,
oboe and cello, eyes closed, eyes closed.
O failure, rot, dissolution, and care,
may you never see Sydney’s Opera House sailing,
Vienna’s Gold Hall, its bright unfallen gemstones of rain,
may you never know the Gaelic and English
of Cardiff's wide-arched façade, that fanfare
of slate and light: Creu Gwir Fel Gwydr
O Ffwrnais Awen – From Inspiration’s Furnace,
Truth Like Glass. In These Stones, Horizons Sing.
©2015 Lex Runciman