Monday, April 18, 2011

jan zwicky: practising bach (prelude)

over the course of this week i will be posting practising bach, a suite of poems by jan zwicky, meant to be read aloud before the various respective segments of bach's partita no. 3 in E major for solo violin, BMV1006. i will post a link to the appropriate section of the piece, as well as the corresponding poetry. take your time.


There is, said Pythagoras, a sound
the planet makes: a kind of music
just outside our hearing, the proportion
and the resonance of things -- not
the clang of theory or the wuthering
of human speech, not even
the bright song of sex or hunger, but
the unrung ringing that
supports them all.

The wife, no warning, dead
when you come home. Ducats
in the fishheads that you salvage
from the rubbage heap. Is the cosmos
laughing at us? No. It's saying

improvise. Everywhere you look
there's beauty, and it's rimed 
with death. If you find injustice
you'll find humans, and this means
that if you listen, you'll find love.
The substance of the world is light,
is water: here, clear
even when it's dying; even when the dying
seems unbearable, it runs.

and now, click on this link to hear the preludio.

Zwicky, Jan. "Practising Bach" The Best Canadian Poetry in English. Markham: Tightrope Books, 2009.