Sunday, May 25, 2014

Poem: Renata Tebaldi

From the book Interplay: Finding the Keys to Creativity

Renata Tebaldi

“I’ll go alone and far as the echo
from the churchbell. There, amid
the white snow; there, amid the
clouds of gold – there where the
earth appears as but a recollection.”
            --La Wally

I drive the length of Oregon. The
radio slaps me with a four-word
sentence. I stop at the Shakespeare
festival, trekking the Christmas-lit
streets for a latte, rubbing a jigsaw
piece between my fingers.

This grieving makes no sense.
I don’t know you. Everything
you’ve given me is locked away
on vinyl and aluminum. My loss
is precisely nothing. But once, you
took hold of my tangled hearing and
untied the knots.

Jenny sits at the kitchen table, her
eyes growing wide. You’ve never
heard Tebaldi? She reaches for the
stereo: an impossibly broad soprano
voice, constructed of butter, an aircraft
carrier tracing cadenzas like a speedboat.
She tells me you’re alive, residing in Italy.
This does not seem possible.

I have made no secret of my fixation. My
friends will send condolences, as if I
have lost a favorite aunt. I will read reports
of you at San Marino, breathing your last,
one eye on the hills.

On the night of four words, I scale the
Siskiyous, strangely energized, the
roadsides patching with snow. My head
fills with Catalani, Renata loosing her
dovish triplets as she climbs the white
mountains, untethered.

First published in
Photo by MJV

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