One Place in New England
By David P. Miller
—to Charles Ives and his symphonic cataclysm
The trumpets and drums of “Putnam’s Camp”
topple over each other in a race toward high-
steppin’ small-town holiday promenade
and its irresistible brass detonation.
“The Housatonic at Stockbridge”: an immersed
orchestral mass, recollected river swelling
from flow and eddy, to inundate, climax
and fall back. A sigh before silence.
Two of Ives’s Three Places in New England
rise a quarter mile in present sound,
reach my black iron table and chair
on a Lenox inn porch. Out of the arched throat
of the Shed at Tanglewood, past the highway
skirting a margin of Stockbridge, uphill
through the apple trees. Music, filtered
by landscape, diffused into roofless sky.
An inchoate tonal pile, I follow this with water
hinting at the corners of my eyes,
because I know these contrary harmonies
from the vinyl I spun at age twelve,
gazing through the living room window
at our own home mountain vision.
Mr. Ives, if only you could hear this
with me, tangled with the traffic below,
the clatter of breakfast gathered
from metal tables by summer workers.
Chairs scraped back into place
across the vintage painted wood
braided with soprano confidences
regarding some kitchen contretemps.
The glory of your all-of-it-at-once,
Charles, that divine discord.
Copyright © 2020 by David P. Miller.