Taylor Graham

Rookie (Pasadena, CA)

Between The Notes - Poem by Taylor Graham

Yosemite Valley

Granite walls sing their own music, if you could hear it.
Perhaps it’s written on the staff of contour lines
on the topographic map you purchased,
then stood amazed before flat paper representing
standing rock, as if an eternal eroding landscape
could be captured in notation.

This music brushes the listener aside,
small eavesdropper. It sits silent in stone.

And now, vacation gone, you drive home in the gusts
and murmur of friends caught between times.
You wonder if Beethoven said something about this
in his deafness. But the radio’s tuned to whatever
signal’s strong enough. Static and rock.

The freeway overpasses hang like fragile arches
that could tumble or hold. Blackbirds on parallel sweeps
of wires strike unheard notes, then fly, change key
and tempo beyond the windshield, lift and settle
variations, and are gone.

A person could pack up his life and carry it on his back,
and hear nothing but his own footsteps, the sift of dust
and wind, water cutting bedrock.

You long for that kind of silence
while the engine grumbles over pavement
toward months of city noise.
You keep the map folded like a secret
in your lap, as if you could learn to read
its music, sing to yourself
its indecipherable stone song.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 23, 2010

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