“III. The Village” – David St. John

There are so many pianos still left


In the fields of the village

Where you insist that we continue


To live, so many pianos


Though only a few have remained faithful

To the serious chords of the wind.


For example, the camel-colored Steinway


Beneath the arbor of lavender wisteria

& drooping bougainvillea has barely


A dozen keys left working, their thin felt


Hammers long grown soggy as dawn mist,

Soft as the pillowing fog.


Still, you say, who cares? as you turn from me,


Stepping calmly onto the narrow stone terrace

Overlooking these perpetual fields—


Just as every young woman in this


Village stands each morning, every one of them,

& exactly at this moment of the day, satisfied by


The first ripple of light as it sketches


The body’s languid harmony. If I am lucky, I know

I will live forever in this ancient, lost village


Of pianos & a late pagan petulance.

– from The Red Leaves of Night