The Unconservatory  


—for Virginia Cayton

Giving us the rhythm of your name,
the voracious hunger of syllables
and staccato of piano keys,
the steady flame of she who leads us
from the darkness of the wood.
Calling you home, calling you—

I want to tell you of the rising sun,
of the height of redwoods
by the edge of the lake
pulling us in, plucking us from both sides
like a harp, or a violin fretting us.
The black keys singing, Virginia.

An unnamable quality,
the tracings of a shadow—
To swing the syllables of the air—
How distance is minuscule.
Life is like that measured beat
of jubilation. Repeat it again.
Over the rise, clouds gather
in your name. Virginia.

Your feet trace shadows
on the back roads of the mind.
The journey forward
must also contain the past.
For what is a pianist without a piano?

Arms punctuate ideas,
strengthen us, build stairs until we
sink down into ourselves
and feel it from the insides of our knees.
The wind is calling you
by the music of your name,




As if someone entered the room
a draft tickles the flame,
teaches it the elements of dance;
it knows how to bend in the breeze.
Like the roaring stand of pines,
it sings its eventual death song.
Not perpendicular right angles
but the bending of light, of time.
Wave and/or particle: quantum mechanics.
Who holds the room together,
who shows the darkness how to dance with light?

A child claps his hands with joy
following the melody of your name, Virginia.
Oh Virginia, the sky knows your name.
The darkness is its brother—or is it "sister"?
Virginia, the mountains’ purity
is composed of ice & rock.

We learn anew the meaning of sublime
living in the heart of the flame.
Virginia, the black notes take hold,
                                                   climb the summit,

seeking the darkness & the light in one breath.
Chiaroscuro and contrapunto,
the flickering flame.

Please note: The following selection is a copyrighted work and may only be downloaded for personal use. It may not be sold, licensed or otherwise commercially used without the express written consent of the copyright holder. This selection is being offered free of charge to the Internet community with the hope that interest and support will be generated in the artists' works.

Download a musical excerpt from Virginia: The Steady Flame (mp3 format).

For the Two of Us
Michelle: A Patriot’s Dream
Helen: Tanzania Dresságe
Katie: The Nightingale
Randy: Neon Rain
Joe: Sunrise at Occidental

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Updated: January 25, 2001 (KB)

Copyright 2001 The Unconservatory, All Rights Reserved.