Dance of Atoms
by Mary K. Lindberg, Bronx, NY
Grand Prize Winner, Dancing Poetry Festival, 2021
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, a comedy for those who think...
and a dance for those who sense.” (Alan Fraser)
At the piano I play Chopin's Berceuse.
The right hand elaborates a melody
the way bobbin thread spins filigree lace;
the left repeats four notes, the same
throughout. A lullaby.
My hands, like my body, churn atoms.
This invisible smithy summons Chopin's
melody, penned over a century ago,
full of turns, trills, ornaments,
to evoke bel canto singing.
The dance of my hands becomes a dance
of my wholeness. I touch white ivory, black
wooden keys to strike strings, make
atoms of sound vibrate. My fingers en pointe
for tone, my feet adroitly tap pedals.
Like a human breath, a musical phrase
rises, falls. Another answers; a wistful
conversation ends as notes,
like a waterfall, cascade across the keyboard.
The piano's body shivers.
Tips of fingers sail off keys breathlessly,
dreamy sensations hover at the window
of sleep. Far-off tiny bells ring, the sound
of stars twinkling. Atoms tiptoe in harmony,
a smooth choreography that closes eyelids.
Clouds climb over the moon and dissolve,
whiffs of lavender float over a cradle.
Chopin, hard at work, dips his pen
into ink, dabs black marks to croon
a mesmerizing lullaby.