Wednesday, January 11, 2012

TC: Bach's Booty


File:Johann Sebastian Bach.jpg

Johann Sebastian Bach at age 61: Elias Gottlob Haussmann, 1748, copy or second version of painting made in 1746 (collection of William H. Scheide)

Three barrels of beer was Bach's pay. Still now
A dim shadow falls across the bright festal tone
As we follow the figured bass part down

Memory lane, where the art form's short term losses,
Simulating his disputes with authority,
Preclude the purple laurels victory brings.

Don't blow your wig, scholar. Let the beer fiddlers play
"The Warrior Minstrel of the Forlorn Hope."
Life remains long, but now and then as the silver

Chords gather and are sprinkled above the planet
Like sparks pinned to a blue velvet canopy
We get these inklings, self regard drifts away

From boreal night's cold lucid frame
Into postromantic darkness, and real stars come out.

Old man with stick leaning on a barrel: photo by Buschgens, 1943 (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)


Robb said...

Quite lovely.

I'd work for beer or even cettle.

TC said...


I'd hide inside the barrel and whistle a toccata.

(Actually the three barrels were Bach's pay as church organist!)