Poem Inspired by Glenn Gould

"Behind every silver lining, there is a cloud" --Glenn Gould

I am reading a book of "Poems about and inspired by Glenn Gould.".

I thought I'd share one with you. It's called "Isolation" by Jeff Kersh.

What's wrong with spending hours engrossed
in a single late-night conversation, jump-
cutting from idea to topic, topic to idea
as disjunctive as classics are sublime?
Or saving up lost social opportunities
for that one relaxed rush of thought,
the superiority of sound over masses
of whispers and coughs overheating
air that should be cool and free,
transmitting waves of music as pure
as the moment of its composition?
Why can't the attention-starved
understand the need for cloister
to ponder the sounds that emerge
only in pitch-black silence, rhythm
of furnace and window-blind,
circulatory system and heart,
random pitches over phone wires
building to personal crescendos,
composing pieces that transcend music?

glenn gould hands, sketch by studio da capo

Sketch by Studio Da Capo


As the title says, this poem is specifically about the isolation of being a performer, of "lost social opportunities" the "need for cloister to ponder the sounds that emerge only in pitch-black silence" and all the other sounds which randomly fill the background of the singular and introverted process of "composing pieces that transcend music".

It's also about the potential hunger of the listener for such a "late-night conversation", that "one relaxed rush of thought" which supersedes and relaxes "masses of whispers and coughs overheating air that should be cool and free" so the performer can engage in "music as pure as the moment of its composition."

The line between performer, music and audience refines and grows from its origins inside and near the "rhythm of furnace and window-blind, circulatory system and heart, random pitches over phone wires, composing pieces that transcend music", where both listener and performer can share the experience of "building to personal crescendos".

I found the sketch of Glenn Gould's hands at a blog called Not Ready for Aria Da Capo, whose artist, "Studio Da Capo", a "graphite artist on a rigorous pursuit", resides in the United States. The site is devoted to sketches, drawings and photos of Gould.

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