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This poem is taken from PN Review 102, Volume 21 Number 4, March - April 1995.

Quartet for the Lion Rodney Pybus

(i.m. Leoš Janácek 1854-1928)


Even the greatest beauty of tone feels cold if the artist has not the strength to break it - or if not to break it, to boil over - even if not dying, to burn - even if not to burn, to hurry - even if not to hurry, to exaggerate.
            'The sea, the earth' Hukvaldy, 10.6.1926
                 (trans. Vilem & Margaret Tausky)


(i) Leaves from each tree
Art's no soft touch. They are the disciplines
of his own fire, these days
he thrashes the ivories
till the brightness stops him,
finger-ends dripping as if
above the mouth of a broken fighter.

Yet how he can make silence fall too:
the leaves from each tree
to the ground.

Every thing he knows has a voice, and through
such windows as tone makes clear
...


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