(Click here for a recording that goes with this poem)
A garden of sweet strings softly lit by
The warmth of flute and clarinet
Rises into the air, inviting my entry,
Into flowing landscapes of sound
And now I hear those notes that are
For me a cue to prepare my body
To take in air – every inch of my torso,
A balloon whose walls are poised muscle.
Smooth inevitability of the passing bars
Leave me no choice but to join the dance
And suddenly the internal space of my head
Is throbbing with sound – my voice lives.
Who am I? A mournful abandoned lover
Every emotion raised to operatic intensity
By the magnificence of the pouring harmonies
That awaken powerful echoes in my heart.
The endless lines must flow unimpeded
By self-doubt or adjustment. I try to float
And trust that the sound will ride secure
On the smooth strength of the tensing muscles.
Suddenly a change of key brings out the sun
Rushes optimism through every bar
The heart beats faster as if obeying
The quickened pulse of the conductor’s arm.
A new challenge now – cascades of notes
Too fast to think, or fear mistakes
Just following, setting the voice free to fly
And soar above the racing orchestra.
Now tension builds towards the climax
My breathing deep, my throat relaxing
To soar above the frozen orchestra
And plummet down to the final note.
Responding to a prompt at one single impression to write about melody, I thought I would try my hand at a poem that trys to capture a singer’s perspective of singing one of my favourite arias – Bellini’s Qui la voce sua soave from I Puritani.
To make this a multimedia experience, I’ve added a recording of me singing the aria I had in mind. It was recorded at home on my computer so it’s neither great quality sound nor my best quality singing – but I thought it would give you an idea of what the experience I’m describing sounds like from the outside.