Two Watterson Poems for SATB chorus and percussion
By Elliott Schwartz
Text by William Watterson
the feral mother won’t let me near
though when I call she hears me;
she never quite finishes her food.
She covers the bowl with grass,
Then arranges sticks and stones
around it in patterns
I do not understand.
Only she knows what she means.
the paws of the kitten who survived
explore the keyboard
of an old piano,
striking notes randomly
like a row by Schoenberg
never to be repeated.
Music at the edge,
at the edge music
which will not harden into form.
A gust rattles the windowpane.
On the roof the rain is playing
its small silver triangle.
Yellow eyes stare up into my eyes,
unwordable as song…
They watch me like a t.v. turned down low
and now I am watching them watch me,
their faces blank as endpapers
in books they will never read.
I am, apparently, a rerun,
just words but no music,
my “teacher knows best” voice a drag
no matter how much I modulate,
a one-man show less commercial interruptions,
my rating lower than I know.
When the hour ends I unplug myself,
my cord a prehensile tail that slithers like a whip.
When the screen goes dark
the Keats ode fails
like perfect flora frozen in the shale.
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