Mudlark No. 61 (2016)

Jesus said Just when I think

I’ve heard everything Callas recorded, 
I stumble on something new. 

This Saint-Saëns thing I almost didn’t click on
because it was, you know, Saint-Saëns, 

”who stormed out of The Rite of Spring 29 May 1913, 
infuriated over the misuse of the bassoon...“ 

Anyhow, ’61, Paris, Callas with her musical friend
Georges Prêtre. Too bad they couldn’t 

have married as well, they were good together.
It was three years after her voice 

was supposedly gone
she gave to one listener an experience he described 

on YouTube: 
working with my dad in the chip 

on in the background, this was played. 
i couldn’t recognize the singer but remember saying 

dad, she has to be
one of the greatest in the world her voice 

confused me but how often 
do we get a chance to listen as if the first time... 

His first time so close to her last time. 
You, writing this, Jesus said, tried to be a singer 

when you were young: you weren’t good enough.
But Callas opened a neural pathway 

through which the representations run,
masques of light and shade. 

Maybe her voice had almost to be gone
before it could prove with inevitable 

little slidings from one note to its neighbor or wider, 
Dalila to Samson, that her confidence was shot 
but not her throat, still changing every note’s color,
all that has dark sounds, roots thrusting

into the fertile loam known to all of us, 
ignored by all of us, a power and not a behavior, 

a struggle and not a concept, not even in the throat
but surging up from the soles of the feet. 
                                                                            Her feet, 
before which lay paradise. 

Patrick Donnelly | I told Jesus When I was afraid
Contents | Mudlark No. 61 (2016)