Jul. 6, 2001

Something By Vivaldi

by Richard Tillinghast

Friday, 6 July 2001
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Poem: "Something By Vivaldi," by Richard Tillinghast from Six Mile Mountain (Story Line Press).

Something By Vivaldi

There's a word—there has to be, there always is,
But today I can't locate it—for how the quotidian
Errand-running self gives legs to the leafy
Glistening part of us that now and again surfaces,
Transporting that breezelike something with a pen
And notebook from a snug seat at the Norseman
One street back from the rain-bothered Liffey,
To a caneback rocker on the porch at Sewanee

Where oakleaf and birdsong stipple down breeze-blown
Onto the page you fill—to a sunwarmed rock beside
The Big Lost River where you set your fly rod down
And write. Or your improvised niche is this brick arcade
In Seattle, discovered not by design
And not exactly by chance, where a classical busker
Rosins up and tunes up and delights the air
With a dazzle of sixteenth notes under arches of rain.

The music scaffolds its ascent up an invisible
Peak, bouncing on swells like a yacht, cloud-bound—
Elaborating story-lines around an allegorical
Citadel, sky-blue roads cutting up a spiral
Up the angle of Paradise, like an apple
Being peeled by an exacting and pleasure-loving hand,
By a hand that is itself no more than smoke.
Then it swings and plunges, and barrels along like a truck.

And all of us gasp and hum and sway
To this lightness that builds a room beyond
The bricks of the arcade, the fire in the pub grate,
The masonry, timber and commerce that build a street,
The force that cut the Big Lost River into granite
Or that puts a chair out on the porch in Tennessee.
All of us: lunching merchants, students, a blonde
Hippie in a Disneyland T-shirt, two out-of-whiskey
Greybeards on a bench; and your reporter,
Brought here for no other purpose than to get it on paper
And get it right—Tennessee sunlight,
Something by Vivaldi, rain on a Dublin street.
All these, and the self that carries the other around
And situates him for the work of his transported hand.
Let us sing, let us sing in Latin, let us stand
Up on elated feet and sing "Magnificat!"

It's the birthday of the Dalai Lama, born in Tibet in 1935. When the 13th Dalai Lama died in 1933, monks from the city of Lhasa set out to find a child who would prove to be the reincarnation of the Buddhist leader. They eventually found him in the village of Taktser, in a four-year-old boy named Llamo, whom they took back to Lhasa and installed as the 14th Dalai Lama. He fled to India in 1959 when the Chinese took over Tibet.

On this day in 1928, the first full-length talking picture, The Lights of New York, premiered at the Strand Theater in New York.

It's the birthday of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, born just outside of Mexico City in 1907. Her paintings often combine brilliant colors and striking images from Mexican folk art.

It's the birthday of children's author Beatrix Potter, born in South Kensington, Middlesex, in 1866, who wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The tale is about the young rabbit, Peter, who ventures into Mr. McGregor's garden simply because his mother tells him he must not.

It's the birthday of the founder of American ornithology, Alexander Wilson, born in Scotland in 1766. He immigrated to America, and published his American Ornithology in 1808. It's success encouraged John James Audubon to continue his own work on American birds.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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