Michael Donaghy

(1954 - 2004 / New York)

Machines - Poem by Michael Donaghy

Dearest, note how these two are alike:
This harpsicord pavane by Purcell
And the racer's twelve-speed bike.

The machinery of grace is always simple.
This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected
To another of concentric gears,
Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected,
Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers.
And in the playing, Purcell's chords are played away.

So this talk, or touch if I were there,
Should work its effortless gadgetry of love,
Like Dante's heaven, and melt into the air.

If it doesn't, of course, I've fallen. So much is chance,
So much agility, desire, and feverish care,
As bicyclists and harpsicordists prove

Who only by moving can balance,
Only by balancing move.


Comments about Machines by Michael Donaghy

  • (9/23/2018 7:01:00 AM)


    My first poem by Donaghy. A wonderful, thought provoking poem. Juxtaposition between the bicycle and the harpsichord very appealing. (Report) Reply

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  • (9/23/2016 10:50:00 AM)


    I quite like this in an odd way. The juxtaposition of a racing cycle and a piece of music is novel, to put it mildly (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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