The Lonely Music

My name is Calliope but some call me Pain,
pronounced like “rain.”

I am the lonely music.
I curl on the blue floor like a cat.
I spring from your heart like blood.
The cut flowers echo your mood—

They make a fist and punch air
but I kiss your ear,
knock on wood—
Are you glad I came?

The lonely music lives in you
like a person in a room,
and enters and leaves and returns,
telling you all that she learns:

The touch of a wet leaf, cool
as the scaffolding of a batwing.
In the school of sense, students sing
low notes in the key of grief.

You are the star there, the one who knows
my name: Despair.

I am the music that comes and goes.

Kelly Cherry
from her book Natural Theology
Louisiana State University Press, 1988
used with permission of the poet

This poem was catalogued in Poems and written by Kelly Cherry. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kelly Cherry

Ms. Cherry is the author of twenty books and eight chapbooks of fiction (novels, stories), poetry, and nonfiction (essay, memoir, criticism) and two translations of classical drama. She has received numerous honors and awards and currently serves as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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