Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
After Rachmaninoff
By Ralph Block
LIKE rain, that silvers out of a silent sky—
“So hard,” you said.
And I sent back my heart in a vain try
To hold below your voice
Some remnant memory of strange songs he played.        5
(These moments never quite return—
Not through all the years I’ll count and spend,
Or light tapers to old gods and watch them burn.)
“Like granite feet”—
You laughed, and then came back,        10
“Both light and strong,
A tracery of rock on rock.”
The moment opened wide and let me in.
I looked behind
As a man who plays with sin,        15
Knowing what it was I sought—
The “variation” he could never play,
That from his fingered keys would always stray
“You seemed held deep        20
In thought”
I lied to that—confession’s cheap,
A lie’s a compliment—
And found myself wondering where to heap
New devotions that would keep        25
Your eyes in mine
In this strange experiment.
We were in a net
Of other people’s words:
They crossed us there like swords.        30
At last I tipped my hat
And felt your tension drop—
Hearts stop perhaps
Like that
No doubt you will forget        35
The evening when we remet:
For you a door had edged and closed
Upon a stranger awkwardly disposed
When I went out.
For me the days will live it through each time        40
In a kind of troubled rhyme—
When concert whispers rise and fall,
And other Russian preludes run
Up chromatic scales and down.
Repelled by chatter, and in vain,        45
I’ll watch the faces for a sign;
As when I held out hands and cried,
And of all the souls that faced my way
Only yours replied.

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