Mahler’s Ninth

for Mary MacRae*

No music in Le Pain Quotidien. Voices clatter,
crockery shrills white but the raspberries in my tartlet
are unblemished, lucent as the red in your poem.

‘If it wasn’t for the noise this would be perfect,’
I say, ‘but we can’t have everything.’
And at once I see you, my dear friend,

in a coma, hour by hour your life slipping away –
you can’t have anything. I stay with you
as we join the pilgrims trailing down Exhibition Road.

In the Albert Hall everyone waits for the symphony
Mahler composed when he learnt he had an illness
doctors couldn’t cure, a symphony he never heard.

Its beginning is tentative as if the instruments
are trying to find a way to talk to one another.
Phrases quiver into findings which become losings

but as the movement closes harmony’s found.
Now, somewhere in the surge of strings, the poignancy
of woodwind is you, Mary, and the brightness of red

you want to be inside. All too soon we arrive
at the finale. The music opens out and soars
but each time it nears a climax it retreats.

How will this end – with orchestra and audience
lifting to those waterlily circles spanning
the dome? No, the instruments are quietening,

their hushed voices hover, fall away.
There isn’t anything now but the five thousand
held together in a silence larger than sound.

© Myra Schneider

This poem is from The Door to Colour and published here with the permission of the poet and publisher.

* Mary MacRae wrote two collections of poetry As Birds Do and Inside the Brightness of Red

Author:

The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

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