Thursday, February 4, 2016


If things were still as they were
A hard road would lead to hearing
Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto Number 1,
With Vladimir Horowitz, Arturo Toscanini,
And the New York Philharmonic of 1942.
First, you’d have to collect a pinch of grave dust
For each musician, as well as the stagehands
(Union rules forbid resurrecting the orchestra
Without the stagehands). A flautist
And a French horn player are still alive;
You would have to send them tickets
And make them young again. Then,
Having conjured up the dead (Hint:
Call up Toscanini first) and restored the living
You’d book the Platonic Ideal of concert halls
(Good luck finding an open date!),
Allow for rehearsals, allow for Horowitz
Quitting in a fury no fewer than three times,
But probably no more than seven,
Tell the Tsar that if he wants to come
He must buy a ticket like anyone else.
Well worth it, of course, but not at all easy.
As it is, I put on my earphones and the ghosts
(How kind they have become in death!)
Play it for me, and then the Emperor Concerto.

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