Chanson d’infini (a poem)


I hear the sweetly palpable texture there,
As if, like hands, my ears could bathe and splash
In each new note he plays, in each new word
He sings, or rather, vocally caresses.

Betwixt his tones, in interstitial mystery
There lies a deep, unsingable sort of tune.
Between two notes, infinity, unbroken
Sleeps, content with natural, sharp, or flat,
All alphabetical, until an unbound voice
Can bend between and wake the pure durée.

Singers often sing their songs, and we
The hearers, listen near as often too;
But when it is a song that sings a singer,
Then we have Heard.


(Originally written in 1996, I think this was when I had first really gotten hold of that wonderful word, ‘interstitial,’ in relation to hearing music.)

4 thoughts on “Chanson d’infini (a poem)

  1. Pete Blum

    An interstice is a space between things. Taken literally, I understand it to be especially applicable to a space between things that are very close together, and may normally (i.e., superficially) be perceived as contiguous. One might normally think of a wall between two rooms as a single thing with two sides, but between the walls (plural) of rooms there are interstices. Remembering Lovecraft, they might have rats in them.

    But what is in an interstice is not necessarily bad, by any means. Contemporary linguists view language as a system where meaning is not so much in each word, as it is “in” the spaces (interstices) between words.

    That music has spaces where the “real” music resides is an idea that’s fascinated me for a while now. Some of the spaces are silences, which can be heard. But others are not really (not literally, one might say) heard. The invitation I offer is to think with me about how the “space” between two notes is a sort of infinity. Then think of how there may be many other such spaces. Infinitely many, perhaps?



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