Frank O'Hara

(27 March 1926 – 25 July 1966 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Music


If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into Bergdorf's
and I am naked as a table cloth, my nerves humming.
Close to the fear of war and the stars which have disappeared.
I have in my hands only 35c, it's so meaningless to eat!
and gusts of water spray over the basins of leaves
like the hammers of a glass pianoforte. If I seem to you
to have lavender lips under the leaves of the world,
I must tighten my belt.
It's like a locomotive on the march, the season
of distress and clarity
and my door is open to the evenings of midwinter's
lightly falling snow over the newspapers.
Clasp me in your handkerchief like a tear, trumpet
of early afternoon! in the foggy autumn.
As they're putting up the Christmas trees on Park Avenue
I shall see my daydreams walking by with dogs in blankets,
put to some use before all those coloured lights come on!
But no more fountains and no more rain,
and the stores stay open terribly late.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: christmas, horse, autumn, angel, snow, war, rain, music, water, fear, world, dog, star, tree

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Music by Frank O'Hara )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie Allan Wikman (4/10/2009 1:38:00 PM)

    Could you believe the U. S Internal Revenue Service
    conceived April to be National Poetry Month,
    just to take our minds off dreaded income taxes? *


    Regardless of its origin, would you care to experience a paroxysm of ecstacy as you appropriately commemorate this rare,30-day month of April,2009?

    Here's the skinny: I have had an extended blast, a challenge and the joy begining, as I recall, in September,1999. Its spark, a brilliant feast concocted by a Harper's magazine editor.

    He'd invited five well-known (North) American poets, including one soon to become a Pulitzer prize winner, to attend a round-table discussion of each others' 'favorite [another poet's] poem, ' at Manhattan's Algonquin Hotel.

    I presume he tape recorded the colloquy: he presented the reader a
    seeming verbatim of the poets' menu.

    I nestled into my easy chair and, immediately began to salivate. Though a college graduate, and in my late 60s, I had never been privileged to participate in such an event. It was, and continues each time I re-read it and my notes, to be a highlight of my now 77 years.

    You might enjoy the experience. And I, yours, if you'll do me a simultaneous favor, that'll make my continuing journey even more pleasurable and educational.

    This year's spark is, yeah, it's another April: 2009. But the meat: 'an exception to the rule' at the start: 10 years ago,1999.

    It's likely each participating poet had, beforehand, shared...rehearsed...with his/her colleagues a favorite poem which the five were to dissect, critique, rank among a poetry-pantheon. A refreshing, free-wheeling discussion ensued. No calories, yet I salivated to the point of dehydration.

    The 'Masters' convincingly interpreted four poems. No typo that word. None of the five, not even Dartmouth's English teacher whose 'favorite' it was, could fathom the fifth.

    I concluded that I had...this poetaster...inchoate poet...had succeeded where the experts had been left unknowing...even unsuspecting...outright wrong? ...I was certain that I had discovered the identity of Frank O'Hara's hero...main character...in his classic,1954 (the year I graduated from college) , 'Music.' A poem I'd not heard of until that moment. I persisted even after I read a current O'Hara biography some readers of which might disagree with my conclusion!

    I telephoned Dartmouth's English professor, boldly claiming to have found the key. 'Please write me, ' she said. I did. Mailed her the entire, four or five-page (lost - now somewhere in my piles of papers) review.

    Never heard a word from her. I'd grown physically strained. Tired out. Bored, even. I tossed my papers in a pile. Forgot the issue. Until the following year when the nearby Rosendale, NY, library called for people to come read a favorite poem. I read 'Music.' Supposedly all readings were tape recorded, sent to 'Washington.'
    Had it been the Smithsonian?

    That event newly emboldened me. Resurfaced my resentment that I'd not heard 'yes, ' 'no' or 'maybe' from Hanover, NH.

    I set out to locate the other four poets. I wrote each the history. Heard from two, including an understandably-terse, yet complimentary postcard from Princeton Professor (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Paul Muldoon. In a handwritten note 'on scrap paper, ' the other neither agreed nor disagreed with my thesis, saying only words to the effect, 'I don't usually dig that deeply into a poem's (or the poet's) meaning.' I was and am grateful that the two responded.

    BACKGROUND
    My high school was ranked third in the nation. I graduated on schedule with middling grades, yet clutching a superior zoo of extra-currics. My college degree, for the receipt of which I suffered dearly, is from a member of the so-called, 'Ivy League.' Yet, alas, I devoted four years to higher learning but 'treading water.'

    As early as my junior year in high school, my sole objective was 'A college degree, ' my ticket to that 'good job' in American industry.

    I did. And got that job merely on my employer's anticipation of my achieving that degree.

    Yet, because I couldn't read, I squandered four years of college. The very act of reading (despite my vocabulary of 99.999) was so physically and emotionally exhausting that, throughout my first 21 years, left un-read were thousands upon thousands of now-treasured pages of literature, history, philosophy, sociology, psychology...I kid you not; the list grows daily.

    I'm still trying to determine why. Until last week, I had blamed symptoms of year-'round, multiple food- and environmental-allergies. Indeed, they may be the culprits. Yet a fellow-ISPEr's assessment of my tale has made me believe I may be what's known as an 'Aspie.'

    Yes, a Harvard psychiatrist had diagnosed me, at age 63, with having AD/HD, by definition, since early childhood. His Rx: Ritalin. But Asberger's?

    Not until I was 32, and chugging along at a fairly decent pace in business, did any physician suspect the origin to be ubiquitous allergies. His desensitization injections turned my life around 180 degrees.

    Yet, NOW the problem became my no-longer-latent craving for, and the satisfaction I believed I could find, only on the printed page.

    Miss Nichols was my high school junior year English teacher. Several years earlier, she had taken a sabbatical to the British Isles to absord wisdom from her dead English lit heroes and heroines. Especially Will Shakespeare. No big deal. Except...she had acquired a British accent which, throughout her remaining years she assiduously and quite successfully strived to exhibit. My dyslexia and Miss N's hilarious mannerisms screened me from any normal appreciation of her teachings.

    Behind her back, we boys teased, especially her idiosyncrasies, unmercifully. I left high school with the obligatory attitude: 'Miss Nichols? Ho, ho. ho.'

    Today, that summary dismissal is one of my biggest regrets.

    Thus my education began in my late thirties. Self-motivated. Random. Spur of the moment. As I familiarized myself, albeit agonizingly-slowly, with the wonders of the written word, I became more invigorated, yet ever-more frustrated, knowing I would never, ever, complete my list of 'must reads.'

    This is all to explain the thrill of the extended-adventure begun the moment I discovered Harpers' 15 pages or so titled, 'How to Peel a Poem.' It was the equivalent, for me, of an accelerated, university grad school, interpretive poetry symposium. Whatever that might be.

    I encourage you to get a copy. And I implore you to share with me your take on Frank O'Hara's 'MUSIC.' Especially to identify his hero. And, if you would please, your evidence.

    Allan Wikman
    Kingston, UlsterCountyNY
    845 + 802-0403
    awikman@hvc.rr.com

    PS: April,2010, I'll report what's occurred between now and then. And make available the document I mailed to the five poets.

    PPS: If a copy of 'Music' eludes you, email me. I'll send it to you.

    * I didn't say the IRS originated AIPM, just asked if you could believe it. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  3. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
  5. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  6. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Sonnet XVII, Pablo Neruda
  8. Deepavu Ninnade.. Gaaliyu Ninnade.., K. S. Narasimhaswamy
  9. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  10. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas

Poem of the Day

poet Tu Fu

Tonight at Fu-chou, this moon she watches
Alone in our room. And my little, far-off
Children, too young to understand what keeps me
Away, or even remember Chang'an. By now,

...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Francis Ledwidge

 

New Poems

  1. Waiting for the Starlight Express, Stephen Brian Brady
  2. The Fifth Day of Christmas, Mark Hamilton
  3. No man's land., RAJ VIKRAM
  4. Kissing, Asit Kumar Sanyal
  5. Romantic Heroine, Bijay Kant Dubey
  6. The Theatre of The Absurd (III), Bijay Kant Dubey
  7. On My Songs, Luo Zhihai
  8. There Is A Time When One Forces Oneself .., Shalom Freedman
  9. Lament to the Full Moon, Geoffrey Fafard
  10. Roach Talk, Ima Ryma
[Hata Bildir]