Call It Music

Some days I catch a rhythm, almost a song
in my own breath. I'm alone here
in Brooklyn Heights, late morning, the sky
above the St. George Hotel clear, clear

by Philip Levine Click to read full poem

Comments (6)

This poem is simple yet so intrinsic and very natural. Just good old honesty.
From Mexico and the Philipoines.... Thanks for posting....
This is not me! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
wow! this is a cool poem, one that makes me want to read more levine. it helps that i share some of his background. but mainly i'm impressed with the weighty human concerns that come through this combination of narrative and meditation. it has a strong ending with the sun staggers and the resonant archetypal image crossing the ocean as a metaphor for passing from this life. gk
In this kind of poem you wait for the appearance of the title in the poem's body. In this it doesn't appear until the fourth to the last line. And is it ever worth the wait! ! This is a poem in which the present moment of remembering merges with the memories of the past, and words like regret, loss, second-guessing, second thoughts, oh, so many words, but they simply don't apply here. That is the singular achievement of Philip Levine's poem: it is not given to us as a memory poem fixed in the past, it is not praise-poem about the long dead, although some will read it as one or both of those. And that's perfectly fine. Anything anyone does with this poem is perfectly fine. But pay attention for once: THIS IS A POEM ABOUT ORPHEUS (OK, Orpheus-redux, if you must) . It is about the orphic power of both words and sounds, of poems and jazz compositions, about poetry and music. It's also about doing what you will in time before death pops in, and says casually because he is inevitable, OK, folks, it's over right now. Wrap it up. And I'm thinking, He forgot to say, It's finished and it's good. We can all be proud of ourselves. Someone else will pick up the pieces we leave behind. We have a journey to take, and remember don't drink the water of the first fountain we pass. He forgot to say those things, so I'm saying them. Because I reject his casual inevitabilities. I'm for the orphic power of music and poetry.
What a lengthy read but i can say it was really worth it.bravo! ! !