Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Love in The Rainforest, new and selected poems

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Love in The Rainforest, new and selected poems

Exile Editions, 1996

"Her poetry is fantastic, angry, compassionate, teased and tortured by memory, and at times overflowing with the human comedy. It places Rogers among our most notable contemporary poets."
- George Woodcock


From Love in the Rainforest:

Closely Watched Trains

The pianist wears green lace,
her skin showing in places.
In the first movement, we see the hunted
child, largo, framed in silent pictures,
between arabesques in an iron fence
around an old garden in Prague-
and later in the camp kindergarden,
lined up t the barbed wire with other
children thin enough to fit
in the spaces between notes by Beethoven,
played over a loudspeaker.

It is fifty years later.
She is alone at the keyboard now,
two hands for arguing voices, the sonata in D minor.
O Freunde, nicht diese Tone,
words by the poet Schiller for a deaf composer.
Nizkor, they say, remember she learned to play
what she heard on that barbed wire,
her starved wrists bridging dissonant notes.

At school after the war,
we were given pencils to sharpen
and black and white
maps of Europe to fill in.
Some of my classmates remembered
passing on trains from colour to colour-
the names not red or pink,
but Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland.

O Freunde, nicht diese Tone.

"O friends," the phrase begins in strange arpeggios,
"not these sounds" the grace notes
sighing inside a sinister left hand
driving closely watched trains.

It isn't the sonata in D minor
we're hearing tonight,
but the time between notes,
when children vanished through cracks in the earth.
At every rubato, we think her heart has stopped,
but then something moves in the green lace.
We see the child in the garden, spreading foliage,
her fingers remembering, the fence, the music-
something beautiful for God.

Read more about Love in the Rainforest at Linda's website.