Sunday, October 2, 2016

Poem of the Week: The Dumka

The Dumka - by B. H. Fairchild
His parents would sit alone together on the blue divan in the small living room listening to Dvorak's piano quintet. They would sit there in their old age, side by side, quite still, backs rigid, hands in their laps, and look straight ahead at the yellow light of the phonograph that seemed as distant as a lamplit window seen across the plains late at night. They would sit quietly as something dense and radiant swirled around them, something like the dust storms of the thirties that began smearing the sky green with doom but afterwards drenched the air with an amber glow and then vanished, leaving profiles of children on pillows and a pale gauze over mantles and table tops. But it was the memory of dust that encircled them now and made them smile faintly and raise or bow their heads as they spoke about the farm in twilight with piano music spiraling out across red roads and fields of maize, bread lines in the city, women and men lining main street like mannequins, and then the war, the white frame rent house, and the homecoming, the homecoming, the homecoming, and afterwards, green lawns and a new piano with its mahogany gleam like pond ice at dawn, and now alone in the house in the vanishing neighborhood, the slow mornings of coffee and newspapers and evenings of music and scattered bits of talk like leaves suddenly fallen before one notices the new season. And they would sit there alone and soon he would reach across and lift her hand as if it were the last unbroken leaf and he would hold her hand in his hand for a long time and they would look far off into the music of their lives as they sat alone together in the room in the house in Kansas.
HT: Munkustrap 

Dovorak's The Dumka, Piano Quintet

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