National Poetry Month: Poems About Music, 12/30

The Polish poet Adam Zagajewski on the baritone member of the string family:

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 11.00.53 PM
Thomas Eakin’s “The Cello Player”

Adam Zagajewski

Niechętni jej mówią: to tylko
skrzypce, które przeszły mutację
i zostały usunięte z chóru.
To nieprawda.
Wiolonczela ma niejeden sekret,
ale nigdy nie płacze,
tylko śpiewa grubym głosem.
Nie wszystko jednak zamienia się
w śpiew.Czasem można usłyszeć
jakby szmer albo szept:
jestem samotna,
nie mogę zasnąć.


Adam ZagajewskiScreen Shot 2013-04-01 at 10.34.23 PM

Those who don’t like it say it’s
just a mutant violin
that’s been kicked out of the chorus.
Not so.
The cello has many secrets,
but it never sobs,
just sings in its low voice.
Not everything turns into song
though. Sometimes you catch
a murmur or a whisper:
I’m lonely,
I can’t sleep.

Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh

Seems like the appropriate tie in is to the gorgeous slow movement of Chopin’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, here played by a supremely relaxed Gregor Piatigorsky. (I think this clip is from what looks like a truly goofy movie called “Carnegie Hall” of 1947.)

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