Sunday, November 7, 2010


6. prompt: "looking for ..."

In one isolated hamlet's hall
the daughter holds up her mobile phone
snaps it shut with a sigh: "No reception here."
The mother holds hers up, gets two bars
of superior service, a different provider.

Driving north to visit friends
she switches on the radio -
her favourite FM station.
Presenters introduce Beethoven's
last symphony, the one he intended
to encourage peace among people
in 1824. They tell how the audience
stood to applaud while Beethoven
conducted on. The contralto had to
turn him around so that he could see
the music had ended. At this, the
concert hall erupted with emotion
as the people suddenly understood.

As she drives, she is inundated
with the chords, engulfed in something like
grief, powerful tremors and eruptions
possessing her lungs and heart.
She is consumed;  tears rain down
to put out the fire in her fibres.
She reminds herself to keep watching
the road, the speedometer, and wonders
if any of her British ancestors attended
that concert in London in 1824. The past
and the present are both palpable.
She wants to cry out: I was there!
How you inspire me! She groans instead
and composes herself, as he must have
had to do. At this point, she realises
she won't hear the whole thing.

By Leonard's Hill the hissing and spitting
have started; at Sailors Falls the radio
is possessed by the demons of static.
She clutches bracts of music between
the spits; at times, his indomitable will
is evident as whole chunks break through.
But in Daylesford, interference is all.
So that, just the other side and still
thirty-five kilometres from destination:
a few triumphal bars, then nothing but
triumphant static waves crashing.

She switches off - as he may have -
preferring silence, and a peace
only slightly disturbed by memory
of what lies buried
in another dimension.

No-one called them during the Annual
Molonghipp Poetry Slam; they'd
switched off the phones anyway. 
The entire evening was a people's event
noisy, good-humoured, easy to enjoy.
Every poet receiving enthusiastic

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