Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Flagstad Recording

Control has been candied and exchanged
So many times it feels like the night 
Of the day, a troubled ride through 
A beginning whose motor announces
It's still the mild guardian 
Of a human bird we don't yet hear.
She needs no protection nor exists
Except as a set of performances,
Notes mistaken for an identity
In sequence, much as we take quiet
Sounds to be an index of their distance
From the only place that matters.
This is not description but paraphrase
The voice does as contradictions, 
New but old, certainly uncertain
About the decision to wear white
Though it's long after Labor Day.
In fact it's that other day in September
Never fully over inside the strings,
And this isn't time, more like the world
Premiere of an anticipation 
Of an accompaniment that isn't 
Paraphrase so much as the last
Chance at exhausted debut.

Credit


Copyright © 2012 by Geoffrey G. O'Brien. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Geoffrey G. O'Brien

Geoffrey G. O'Brien is the author of Experience in Groups (Wave Books, 2018), People on Sunday (Wave Books, 2013), Metropole (University of California Press, 2011), Green and Gray (University of California Press, 2007), and The Guns and Flags Project (University of California Press, 2002). He teaches English at the University of California, Berkeley and San Quentin State Prison and lives in Berkeley, California.

Date Published: 2012-09-07

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/flagstad-recording