Listening to Mozart at Meadow Brook by Patricia Hooper. From the collection Mixed Voices, Contemporary Poems about Music, edited by Emilie Buchwald and Ruth Roston.
Listening to Mozart at Meadow Brook
Pinned on our picnic blankets
we must look, from that helicopter buzzing
over, like someone's butterfly collection,
although, down here, our lively population
is dense and fluttering while the flutist spills
his notes through leaf-notes, rustling grasses, all
the summer evening sounds no flute intended:
two lover in one sleeping bag, a mother
suntanned and stretching with her sleepy children,
while overhead the interrupted darkness
closes again around its absent plane
which leaves, in listening air, a certain music.
If it were possible
somewhere to hear concertos of the meadow,
tensed to the sound of Mozart, someone slaps
two,three mosquitoes in one bright crescendo,
then settles down in chicory and clover
without a deviation in the strain.
A field hawk veers in the air, sweeps down like water,
quiets itself at least in pools of leaves,
and then the breeze unfurls a tuft of milkweed
retrieved by daisies further down the hill.
Some day in concert halls we'll hear this music
as though a statue made of bark and grasses
were cased behind thick glass in a museum.
Even the crickets add their notes to Mozart's.
Or is it Mozart added to their meadow?
The stars poke out, placing us in perspective,
each pulsing speck in history, while music
drifts into spaces here and overhead,
seeps through the crevices of shirts and jackets,
filling the grassy bed some girl and boy
are wrapped in, under throes of flute-notes rising.
The moon goes dark. A mist-like rain is falling
as we fold blankets, programs, and applaud,
gathering picnic baskets while the stage
gleams with white dinner jackets, silken dresses,
and then goes dim and silent as we go.
Behind us, in the darkness, the musicians
pack up, change back to street clothes, each one moving
still in some lingering cadence toward his car,
unraveling threads of Mozart, that find webbing
seamless from grass to star.