Alfred Kreymborg

(1883-1966 / United States)

Nun Snow - Poem by Alfred Kreymborg

A Pantomime of Beads
Earth Voice
Thoughtless of life,
A lover of imminent death,
Nun Snow
Touching her strings of white beads?
Is it her unseen hands
Which urge the beads to tremble?
Does Nun Snow,
Aware of the death she must die alone,
Away from the nuns
Of the green beads,
Of the ochre and brown,
Of the purple and black
Does she improvise
Along those soundless strings
In the worldly hope
That the answering, friendly tune,
The faithful, folk-like miracle,
Will shine in a moment or two?
Moon Voice
Or peradventure,
Are the beads merely wayward,
On an evening so soft,
And One Wind
Is so gentle a mesmerist
As he draws them and her with his hand?
Earth Voice
Was it Full Moon,
Who contrives tales of this order,
And himself loves the heroine,
Nun Snow
Wind Voice
Do you see his beads courting hers?
Lascivious monk!-
Earth Voice
Was it Full Moon,
Slyly innocent of guile,
Propounder of sorrowless whimseys,
Who breathed that suspicion?
Is it One Wind,
The wily, scholarly pedant
Is it he who retorts
Wind Voice
Like olden allegros
In olden sonatas,
All tales have two themes,
She is beautiful,
He is beautiful,
With the traditional movement,
Their beads court each other,
Revealing a cadence as fatally true
As the sum which follows a one-plus-one
So, why inquire further?
Nay, inquire further,
Deduce it your fashion!
Nun Snow,
As you say,
Touches her strings of white beads,
Full Moon,
Let you add,
His lute of yellow strings;
And, our Night
Is square, nay,
Our Night
Is round, nay
Our Night
Is a blue balcony
And therewith close your inquisition!
Earth Voice
Who urged the beads to tremble?
They're still now!
Fallen, or cast over me!
Nun, Moon, and Wind are gone!
Are they betraying her?
Moon Voice
Ask our Night
Earth Voice
Did the miracle appear?
Moon Voice
Ask our Night,
Merely a child on a balcony,
Letting down her hair and
Black beads, a glissando
Ask her what she means,
Dropping the curtain so soon!

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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