Sad Strains of a Gay Waltz

Sad Strains of a Gay Waltz

The truth is that there comes a time
When we can mourn no more over music
That is so much motionless sound.

There comes a time when the waltz
Is no longer a mode of desire, a mode
Of revealing desire and is empty of shadows.

Too many waltzes have ended. And then
There’s that mountain-minded Hoon,
For whom desire was never that of the waltz,

Who found all form and order in solitude,
For whom the shapes were never the figures of men.
Now, for him, his forms have vanished.

There is order in neither sea nor sun.
The shapes have lost their glistening.
There are these sudden mobs of men,

These sudden clouds of faces and arms,
An immense suppression, freed,
These voices crying without knowing for what,

Except to be happy, without knowing how,
Imposing forms they cannot describe,
Requiring order beyond their speech.

Too many waltzes have ended. Yet the shapes
For which the voices cry, these, too, may be
Modes of desire, modes of revealing desire.

Too many waltzes–The epic of disbelief
Blares oftener and soon, will soon be constant.
Some harmonious skeptic soon in a skeptical music

Will unite these figures of men and their shapes
Will glisten again with motion, the music
Will be motion and full of shadows.

One response to “Sad Strains of a Gay Waltz”

  1. I do wish we were able to meet as a group and discuss this poem. It’s selfish, you see—I don’t understand a word of the poem and could use the help deciphering it. I’ve read it several times now, and it’s all amphigory and nephelidia to me. I’m sure, though, a nice hour’s discussion would at least lead me to think that I could draw some sense from it. It happened several times before with other poems…

    Good to see you’re still alive!

    from Portrait of a Lady

    We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole
    Transmit the Preludes, through his hair and finger-tips.
    “So intimate, this Chopin, that I think his soul
    Should be resurrected only among friends
    Some two or three, who will not touch the bloom
    That is rubbed and questioned in the concert room.”