When Stradivarius felt: he is about to carve
His last violin — on a stormy night, a gray old man,
He went off to the woods, stooped over with his stick.
Like burning violin bows, lightning attacked him.
He kneels at every tree, applies his breathing ear:
Oh, which chosen tree will now reveal
The one great tone? Which tree will give the wood
For Stradivarius to carve his last violin?
The smallest seed of sound — its pain
Weeps in him. The pain of raising
Violins. As if he himself had liberated from a prison
His own death
Along with the purest sounds.
He asks forgiveness of the shadows
For sawing off their heads — to capture
The nightingale inside his violin and to unravel
The grief of a tree after the first rain, a tree
That cannot flee assaulting saws …
With a cold iron glove, the storm fells him.
A cloud stands at his head with a spade.
And Stradivarius barely
Whispers: Chosen Tree,
Saw apart my body — the weeping form,
And carve from me, paint with my blood — the last violin.
Abraham Sutzkever's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (Chosen Tree by Abraham Sutzkever )
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edna St. Vincent Millay
(22 February 1892 – 19 October 1950)
(9 November 1928 – 4 October 1974)
(03 April 1964)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(November 19, 1942)
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