Clarinettist, The

Clarinettist, The

Fainlight, Ruth

Pale round arms raising her clarinet

at the exact angle, she sways, then halts,

poised for the music

like a horse that gathers itself up before the leap

with the awkward, perfect, only

possible movement

an alto in a quattrocento chorus, blond head

lifted from the score, open-mouthed

for hallelujah

a cherub on a ceiling cornice leaning out

from heaped-up clouds of opalescent pink,

translucent blue

a swimmer breasting frothy surf like ripping through

lace curtains, a dancer centred as a spinning top,

an August moon

alone, in front of the orchestra, the conductor’s

other, and unacknowledged opposite,

she starts the tune.

RUTH FAINLIGHT’s

twelfth collection of poems, Burning Wire, is due out from Bloodaxe Books (U.K) and Dufour Editions (U.S.A.) later this year. . . .

Copyright Hudson Review Spring 2002

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