The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

The Broken String
By Grace Schulman

When Itzhak Perlman raised his violin
and felt the string snap, he sank and looked down
at legs unfit to stand and cross the stage
for a replacement. He bowed to the maestro,
played radiant chords, and finished the concerto

with the strings he had. Rage forced low notes
as this surf crashes on rock, turns, and lifts.
Later, he smiled and said it’s what you do:
not just play the score, but make new music
with what you have, then with what you have left.

What you have left: Bill Evans at the keyboard,
Porgy. The sound rose, but one note, unworthy,
stalled in his head above the weightless chords,
above the bass, the trumpet’s holler: Porgy.
A sudden clenched fist rose, pounded the keys,

fell limp: a heroin shot had hit a nerve.
I Loves You, Porgy. Sundays at the Vanguard
he soloed, improvised — his test that starved
nameless fear. Hands pitted against each other,
like the sea’s crosscurrents, played away anger.

My father bowed before the Knabe piano,
scanned notes, touched fingers lightly, and began,
by some black art, I thought, his hearing gone
for years. And always, Mozart, Liszt, Beethoven.
One day I gasped, for there were runs

he never heard, played as a broken kite string
launches a lifelike eagle that might soar
on what the flier holds, what he has left.
Not even winds that howl along these shores
and raise the surf can ever ground that flight.


I'm sure I have something important to report from my Tuesday, but I can't remember what. I was all ready to go out and pick up someone's freecycled books of Celtic cross stitch patterns, but it turned out she wasn't going to be home, so I just went for a walk, futzed around the house and fiddled with photos -- someone wanted to know if he could buy a print of a photo I took of the Utz potato chip factory in Hanover near my in-laws, but I can't find the original file anywhere, just the reduced-size one on my web page! Augh! I am still slowly working on sorting my summer trip pictures so I can decide which ones to print and in what format.

Oh, and I might have spent quite a bit of time on various UK web sites plotting places to visit as soon as I get rich. The new Smithsonian magazine arrived with a cover story on the latest discoveries about Stonehenge, as well as articles about cassowaries and genetic discoveries about Jewish descendants in New Mexico, which don't seem to be online yet. And I was also reading in the Telegraph about how HMS Victory could be sold to private investors, which sounds unnerving.

An old friend with whom I recently reconnected on Facebook asked to see a close-up of the necklace I was wearing to the Renfaire, so here it is -- the pattern on the Chalice Well in Glastonbury.

And I keep telling people about my awesome Etsy purchases, so I figured I'd share pictures of things I've bought, though these photos were taken by the sellers. The first is a custom project I thought up after I saw sophiesbeads' Harry Potter bracelet and asked whether she could make beads that looked like stacks of Tarot cards. The second is a piece made for me after I wrote to Luv2Have to ask if she could sell me a dichroic tree pendant in jewel-tone colors.

Tarot Card Necklace... sophiesbeads.
Majesty Etched Tree... Luv2Have.

My wonderful husband got me Boston Legal's fourth season on DVD. Joy!

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