19 May 2013

The great door in the air

by Ted Hughes    

            Opus 131        

Opus 131 in C sharp minor
Opened the great door
In the air, and through it
Flooded horror. The door in the hotel room
And the curtain at the window and even
The plain homely daylight blocking the window
Were in the wrong dimension
To shut it out. The counterpoint pinned back
The flaps of the body. Naked, faceless,
The heart panted there, lie a fetus.
Where was the lifeline music? What had happened
To consolation, prayer, transcendence --
To the selective disconnecting
Of the pain center? Dark insects
Fought with their instruments
Scampering through your open body
As if you had already left it. Beethoven
Had broken down. You strained, listening
Maybe for divorce to be resolved
In the arithmetic of vibration
To pure zero, for the wave-particles
To pronounce on the unimportance
Of the menopause. Beethoven
Was trying to repair
The huge constellations of his silence
That flickered and glinted in the wind.
But the notes, with their sharp vaces,
Were already carrying you off,
Each with a different bit, into the corners
Of the universe.


Fallen from heaven, lies across
The lap of his mother, broken by world.

But water will go on
Issuing from heaven

In dumbness uttering spirit brightness
Through its broken mouth.

Scattered in a million pieces and buried
Its dry tombs will split, at a sign in the sky,

At a rending of veils.
It will rise, in a time after times,

After swallowing death and the pit
It will return stainless

For the delivery of this world
So the river is a god

Knee-deep among reeds, watching men,
Or hung by the heels down the door of a dam

It is a god, and inviolable.
Immortal.  And will wash itself of all deaths.

From River: New Poems, 1983.

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