Saturday, April 16, 2011

Machines - Michael Donaghy

Dearest, note how these two are alike:
This harpsichord pavane by Purcell
And the racer's twelve-speed bike.

The machinery of grace is always simple.
This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected
To another of concentric gears,
Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected,
Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers,
And in the playing, Purcell's chords are played away.

So think talk, or touch if I were there,
Should work its effortless gadgetry of love,
Like Dante's heaven, and melt into the air,

If it doesn't, of course, I've fallen. So much is chance,
So much agility, desire and feverish care,
As bicyclists and harpsichordists prove

Who only by moving can balance,
Only by balancing move.

Michael Donaghy (1954-2004) was born in the Bronx, New York. He won the Whitebread Prize for Poetry and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 1988 for his collection Shibboleth. He moved to London in 1985 where he worked as a teacher and musician.

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