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This poem is taken from PN Review 171, Volume 33 Number 1, September - October 2006.

Four Prose Poems John Fuller


A Brief History of the Piano

      80 Très-Sec

 The humour is a little tart, as if to say: 'This is what the fingers can do, so let them do it. But you and I know very well that it is not quite enough.' There! At a touch they are off again. The sky is Josiah-blue, and the tutor's wig has been laid aside for perspiration.


      78 Beau-Fixe

 How simple is melody, a natural continuity and variety: the seed, the shoot, the leaf, the flower, the seed. The family assembles. Let us then have refrains, rondos, parterres, but nothing to disturb the tranquillity of the afternoon.


      76 Variable

 In the furniture of our sensibility the green has modulated into gold, as the bee chooses nectar for the hive and the orchard trees are cut into fretted sounding-boards. In a drawing room you may now hear whispers and the thudding of the heart at the same time, as the hands continue to move.


      74 Vent ou Pluie

 Why is it that the rose-and-ochre west brings a tear to the eye? The boy with his hand on the latch of the garden gate is more likely to be leaving than arriving, and of any two notes the second will fall away. Whatever may be carried across an evening lawn is the better for being only halfheard or left untasted. Where is everybody?


      72 Tempête

 All is lost! In a fury of isolation the hero's hands descend together from shoulder-height as if to shut the fiend at last in his thundering coffin. A crimson curtain rises to show him doing it again and again. All is not lost!


The Thistle and the Bee

 Spared to save the scythe blade, the thistle at the granite
 door-step wears a foolish grin of bravado.
       ' Lookie,' says he, 'at the bee-line to my braw bonnet.
 Who'd have kenned sich juice in the dry pom-pom?'
         And the bee replies:
      ' I chanced here after a dull acre of shaven grass. Good
 lord, do you think I will bother to pass by again?'
...


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