Monday, February 05, 2007

To Mischa Elman "Bath" by Carl Sandburg

A man saw the whole world as a grinning skull and cross bones.
The rose flesh of life shriveled from all faces.
Nothing counts.
Everything is a fake.
Dust to dust and ashes to ashes and then
an old darkness and a useless silence.
So he saw it all.
Then he went to a Mischa Elman concert.
Two hours waves of sound beat
on his eardrums.
Music washed something or other
inside him.
Music broke down and rebuilt something
or other in his head and heart.
He joined in five encores for the young Russian Jew
the fiddle.
When he got outside
his heels hit the sidewalk in a new way.
He was the same man in the same world as before.
Only there was a singing fire and a
climb of roses everlastingly
over the world he looked on.

--Chicago Poems 1916

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