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About this Poem 

"Where I grew up, we did a lot of choral singing in school and church, lots of Mozart, so I got to know some. The only way to make a poem about his genius seemed to be to record a group of stunning and paradoxical facts that spoke for themselves and demonstrated Mozart's range."
—Caroline Knox


Caroline Knox
Can you imagine
what is true, that 
smack in the middle
of making The Magic
Flute he interrupted
himself to make
“Ave Verum Corpus,”
world’s most truth-telling
motet (Who made its
text?  Maybe a pope),
then got himself on
track, back to TMF
(all the while dealing
with money worry and
sickness of wife).  When 
you get to the esto nobis
cadence in “AVC,”  you
scale the spine of the
European Enlightenment;
when you get to the
idiotic “Three Faithful 
Youths” chorus in TMF:

	“Three faithful youths we now will lend you
	Upon your journey they’ll attend you;
	Though young in years, these youths so fair
	Heed the words of wisdom rare!”

you’re dealing with 
Bertie Wooster’s
three best friends.
Because he was Mozart,
not a problem.

Copyright © 2014 by Caroline Knox. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 18, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Caroline Knox

by this poet

I packed up the books: Under
Milk Wood, Of
Mice and Men, Under
the Window, Under
the Volcano, Up
from Slavery, The Thunder-
ing Herd, Under
the Greenwood Tree, The Over-
Coat, The Changing Light at Sandover,
world, Out
of Africa, Paris Trout;

and I went over
to the Under-
woods' house over
Long jetty, long shell-racked jetty, cracked warped planks.

Beautiful fish, beautiful sea-bass poached with an August tomato, on an ironstone plate.

A snake's slough, a snake's spinal cord, a dry-rot stump.

A twill tape measure, an audiotape cassette unspooled and puckered, shining.

Agate prayer beads,
You see them through water and glass,
(both liquids) and through air
with plenty of liquid in it
—water is moving through the air—
you see the large dolphins animated,
unfractious in their native 
drink, going
back and forth interacting with
some sort of rings—in a minute-long video—
in a loop, we see these