Poem: This is the violin

Another fine poem from Joe Stickney:

This is the violin. If you remember –
One afternoon late, in the early days,
One of those inconsolable December
Twilights of city haze,
You came to teach me how the hardened fingers
Must drop and nail the music down, and how
The sound then drags and nettled cries, then lingers
After the dying bow. –
For so all that could never be is given
And flutters off these piteously thin
Strings, till the night of a midsummer heaven
Quivers . . . a violin.
I struggled, and alongside of a duty,
A nagging everyday-long commonplace!
I loved this hopeless exercise of beauty
Like an allotted grace, –
The changing scales and broken chords, the trying
From sombre notes below to catch the mark,
I have it all thro’ my heart, I tell you, crying
Childishly in the dark.

Poem XXVI, page 237, of:
Trumbull Stickney [1966]: The Poems of Trumbull Stickney. Selected and edited by Amberys R. Whittle.  New York, NY, USA:  Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.
Previous poems by Trumbull Stickney here, and previous poetry posts here.  Another poem about a violin, by Vadim Delone, here.

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