Frederick Seidel


Song To The Moon


You're born that way—or else you're not.
It's snowing—or else it's hot.
It's like the strangeness, that's also natural,
When it's raining on one side of the street.
I'm back to childhood when I see it weirdly
Raining on only one side of the street. I stare
Because it's rare. How does nature dare!
It's like the first time you hear Bach. You stop and stare—and hear!

Everybody watches the weather report
On morning TV when everybody's getting dressed.
You always see something. You never see nothing.
If you don't like what you're wearing, change the channel.

But it's always the same weather, isn't it,
On every channel, and always changing
With the times? I like that
It wasn't raining, and then it was, but the sun was shining at least

On one side of the street for homosexuals
In those not-so-long-ago pre-Stonewall days,
Though it was difficult and even dangerous
And they were often unhappy,

However happy they were.
Samuel Barber at the Curtis Institute
In Philadelphia with Menotti and oh my what gifted fun.
I think of the hard-drinking tough-guy GI Bill fags

I knew in Cambridge, Mass., Harvard
Teachers and fiends with a taste for straights, doing their best on weekends
Not to get caught or killed,
And basically brilliant and frightened and thrilled.

You saw hysterical, theatrical, paranoid men,
Given to hissy fits and Carmen Miranda outfits,
Become calm when a shot was fired,
When it came down to taking off the costume and loving someone.

And Leonard Bernstein was vamping around.
And Aaron Copland
Gave manly kisses. Wasn't Dvořák mildly gay?
Renée Fleming singing Dvořák's dragonfly-winged, ethereal

"Song to the Moon" from his opera Rusalka
Is what beauty really is and does.
The water nymph Rusalka, a spirit in a lake,
Broadcasts her sorrow

And longing to the moon
To ask the moon to tell the prince—a mortal man—
That she loves him even if he's queer,
Which she deeply does, whom she'll later kill with a kiss.

Submitted: Monday, November 25, 2013
Edited: Monday, November 25, 2013

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