Playing the Stars
Her name was melody,
And she looked at me
Sometimes as if she'd like to eat me;
Soft and pretty in her Gown of Silverlight,
Her moonbeam kisses would claim me--
And when I took my violin,
My magician's Wand of Love,
She'd tell me quiet things to soothe me
And bring down my temperature--
Oh, but the fever for her was so hot!
On the stage I would undress her,
And at night on foreign balconies
I played myself
While the women of the otherworld wept . . .
And most often drunk, I would call her name,
Confused and thinking I saw her;
And all the rest would hush me,
Silent and subdued,
As I waited for her to return.
They thought I was sick... they did,
After all I did for them,
They had the nerve to patronize me--
Couldn't they see her naked, glorious--?
I had known her since childhood,
We had always been spiritual lovers;
She had a way of making me feel safe
Even when she chased my heart
Far into the dark corners of life.
And when I played my instrument for her
Before me she would dance;
Sometimes slow, then fast,
A floating belly dancer!
And into manhood did she lead me,
Gently guiding me as a lighted lantern,
Her voice a song to direct me,
Her luminescence bringing me towards ecstasy,
Towards an Ecstasy of Self.
Yes, this love of my being,
This gracious Muse of Life,
Once led me into Living,
Once took me far from strife.
But then the Lust of the World consumed me--
My darling came less and less often
Until my memory of her
Remained piercing like a chronic illness,
A remembrance of beauty
That claimed me so much like a pain
That I collapsed in loss and desire,
Lost without the power to reclaim her,
The Magic of my Memories!
Didn't I learn to live without the sumptuous ability!
My instruments played hollow noises
Echoed harshly through dim towers;
The world did laugh and forget me--
I was quickly useless to the universe . . .
A forgotten melody.
But then, one day, my melody returned!
She stripped herself down to the truth of us:
She took my aging hands to her burning skin
And cooled my soul against her radiant flesh . . .
The mix of our love ignited passion,
Resounded the glory and promise of days I had thought were gone;
Irrevocable loss transformed between our ecstatic limbs
Into a Destiny of Grandeur!
She spoke to me ever so softly,
Her hungry exclamations shook my very center;
The world tightened and then exploded again
As her soul stretched to envelop mine . . .
"My love is manna from your heaven,
My passion your fruit and sustenance.
Devour me and I am life to you;
Perpetuate me and live forever--
I am your soul . . . !"
And oh so gently,
She stroked my essence;
Her slender fingers gripped my conscience,
I felt my being molded and released,
As her lips caressed my face . . .
And then did she leave my bed,
Gliding like an angel into smoke,
Her glowing figure lost to vision,
Her fiery spirit trapped in me.
And when I clasped my violin to me,
The bow sang beneath my fingers,
The strings hummed with need for expression,
And so I freed them from their silence
And the instrument sang,
Sang to me like songs from above:
Choruses and Operas and Ballads of Life!
And when I opened my eyes to regard the world,
There again were the awe-struck and hungering crowds
Pelting me with flowers and with
Papyrus wishes for love and romance and satisfaction--
But there are grander things than worship,
And I looked across the crowds
In my fancy dress with violin;
I felt the grandeur fade--
And there in the balconies I saw her,
The glorious love of my life;
Around her stood strangers and mortals,
Beneath her swayed commoners and the lost hearts of men . . .
What I might have been!
But oh!, my Lady,
Did she smile at me,
Her lips sweet and honey-glazed,
Her eyes glowing soft and bright,
Her face shining down upon me--
Like the sun, that I might see!
And so I played my instrument for her,
A Serenade of Lovers;
And I heard her call my name--
A vision of light did she become,
And see her not, could any of them;
Mortals, unloved and lost and human,
In this world they owned no magic,
No Brilliance of Self, no Fables of Love.
And so did her blinding light come to me
Upon the stage of that great house,
As I madly played my violin:
A serenade of violent love--
"Calm yourself, my darling!",
Called my angel down to me, frantic;
"I would not lose your genius,
You are meant to play the stars--".
"But I would play them now!", I cried,
"I would knock the heavens down with this music, my love,
The very heavens that did send you,
They mean nothing to me but that I might
Show the universe my love--".
"But darling!", she cried, weeping,
Her face a blazing jewel filled with tears of diamonds, topaz,
Ruby- tragic sorrow-- ,
"Tear the heavens down and you shall lose me--
No mortal may challenge the heavens,
For they made both you and I,
And their power is all-encompassing--
You could not ever withstand their weight!"--
But I played, and how madly I played!
I forgot the crowds and the faces,
I discounted the heavens above--
And furiously, I played on . . .
And then my melody reached me,
I heard her sing sweetly in my soul
As she clasped me anxiously to her,
To cry against my skin--
Drenched in her tears did I feel feverish,
And enraptured I played on--
She pulled from me, but I did not notice,
I felt I burnt like fire,
I felt that life was gone--
And in a sudden madness of truth,
I realized my secret aim--
"My Melody," said I,
"My Melody, each note brings me closer to you!
Each note brings me straight to heaven;
Our love challenges the world, my darling,
And your tears disintegrate my mortality--"
And in a rush of fire and light
Did I feel myself recaptured in her embrace--
In this way did I become immortal
In this way was I no longer human--
The heavens sang as we transformed, into
Something more than we had ever been--
Our love, so grand, the truth of us
Was made a Story of Legend--
. . .
Remember this magnificent theater, children,
Where once a man played music from the angels?
Well such an angel loved him so,
So that the pair of them challenged the heavens
And now, as he plays, as they live forever,
The two of them shall play together . . .
What do they play?, ask the children,
Gazing up in wonder at the great, high ceiling,
Painted exquisitely with the great virtuoso
Who embraces triumphantly a great glowing
Angel of Light.
And the reply is an exclamation,
That echoes loftily high:
The stars, children . . .
They play the stars into eternity . . .
And perhaps there comes a simple smile
To the lips of the artist and his beloved . . .