A strange flawed beauty caught my naked eye
As if some monstrous beast is hiding near
Where deep rose clouds hang from a darker sky
Now the rose has gone and all is grey
The night will fall and sorrow is our fare
A shattered beauty caught by mirrored eye
Yet underneath night sorrow there is joy
The wisdom of the ages does not stare
Though deep rose clouds hang from a darker sky
Now I see some gold spread unalloyed
The artist we can worship ,love, revere
Beauty, fearless, caught in mirrored eye
Nature in her way will never lie
Yet she can kill what humans hold most dear
While deep rose clouds hang from a near night sky
In the clouds of sadness faces leer
Hallucinations look but cannot jeer
Such beauty ,numinous ,affects my eye
While deep rose clouds sing from a darkening sky
Alfred my old cat
The weather in Knittingham was rather hot.Mary was away giving a lecture on Dirac’s thoughts in Oxford and Stan felt lonely.He rang Annie but she was out.
So he said to Emile
I am going to bed early.Have you had enough to eat?
Definitely,cried Emile,who had just licked all the cream off two meringues in the larder.So Stan went upstairs.He took off all his clothes and admired his thin body in the mirror.
Not bad for 97,he muttered.
Now what shall I put on?
He found his pyjamas too hot so on an impulse he opened Mary’s wardrobe and found a cotton nightdress.It was a bit big for him but definitely cooler than his pyjamas.He cleaned his teeth and washed himself before falling into bed with,The Other Ariel a book about Sylvia Plath’s poetry and how Ted Hughes had altered the order of her poems and even removed some from the book .Ariel,which made her name.The doorbell rang.Each time it played a different tune out of the 90 in its repertoire.
He ran downstairs and opened the door.There stood two policemen.
They stared a the handsome old man with elegant hands
Hello.Sir.I hope we have not interrupted you?
No,I am just reading in bed. on my own
Do you always wear a nightgown?
This is the first time,he told them humorously.
I felt very hot so I decided to wear my wife’s gown.
And just where is your wife?
What’s it got to do with you,he enquired unceremoniously.
Just tell us,the older policeman said brusquely
She’s at a conference in Oxford giving a talk.About Dirac or Riemann or another nitwit.
Can we come in? the policeman said.
May we come in,Stan corrected him;not a good idea on the whole,especially in the USA where the police have guns.Luckily all our police have here are rubber gloves in case people ask them to wash up after having a cup of tea.
What is wrong? said Stan.
We have found a naked woman walking in the High Street.She says a man stole her clothes.For various reasons we think it might be you.
But if she was in the High Street she’d be in proper clothes not a nightdress,surely ,Stan murmured.
But you like women’s clothes….. we can see.
No,I don’t, the old man shouted.
I told you I was too hot.And in my own home I can wear anything I like.
Sometimes I wear a prayer shawl
Are you Jewish? they asked.
Only a little, but I inherited it from a great grandfather who married out.
Out of what? the police asked
He married out of his faith.He was longing for a bacon sandwich.
Surely marrying just to eat a bacon sandwich is a bit over the top.
Well,that was his story.Maybe he was tired of obeying the Ten Commandments so he broke most of them.
He committed adultery once when his wife had a nervous breakdown ; he lost his head and went to bed with his neighbour’s wife.
And where was his neighbour?
At the psychiatric unit visiting my great grandmother.Stan admitted uneasily.
Well,at such times we all do odd things,the older policeman advised him.
Thank you for your frankness,Sir.I can see you are not a criminal.
Thank the Lord,said Stan as he went into the kitchen and put the kettle on to make a cup of tea to save ringing 999
I am lucky not to be in a cell and Mary would have had to come home.She would have been cross, he told Emile.Anyway monks wear habits.
But who had stolen the clothes off the woman in town? A mystery to be studied with Annie when she got home.
At last Stan relaxed and went back to bed with his books
This is the last time I ever wear a nightdress he whispered to Emile who was by his side.
And so hope all of us.
n March 10th, the German pianist Igor Levit played Beethoven’s Third and Fifth Piano Concertos at the Elbphilharmonie, the hulking concert complex in Hamburg. It was his thirty-third birthday and, it turned out, his last public concert for many weeks. The next day, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, delivered a dire warning about the scope of the looming coronavirus pandemic, and performance spaces began closing across the country. At the time, Levit had a full schedule before him. He had recently issued a boxed-set recording of Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas, and was playing Beethoven cycles in several European cities. He was also preparing to tackle an arcane colossus of the piano literature—the seventy-minute Piano Concerto by the early-twentieth-century composer-virtuoso Ferruccio Busoni, a hero of his.
“That next day, the eleventh, was kind of a shock day,” Levit told me recently, in a video call from his apartment, in Berlin. “On the twelfth, I was shopping in a grocery store, and I had this thought: What if I live-streamed a gig?” He peered into his phone with a grin. He is a trim young man with sharp features, a high Mahlerian hairline, and a thin growth of beard. He was wearing a T-shirt that read “Love Music Hate Racism.” He speaks rapidly and incisively, his English nearly as good as his German. Sometimes he seems more mature than his years, poised and oracular; at others, he comes across as an antic, restless member of his digital-native generation.
Levit went on, “When I got home, I did what I usually do, which is to throw a thought into the public arena without thinking about any consequences. I went on Twitter and said, ‘O.K., I’m going to play for you guys tonight at my place.’ After having tweeted that, I realized, Hang on—I’ve never streamed anything, I know shit about streaming, I don’t even know if Twitter allows thirty minutes of streaming, I have no camera stand. I had a total panic. I was sending messages to friends: ‘Do you know how streaming works?’ And this tweet was already out there. It was a catastrophe. I ran to the last electronics store that was still open, and got some stuff for twenty-four euros.”
I saw Levit’s tweet and tuned in. The setting was familiar, because I had met with him there the previous summer. He lives in a spacious, airy, sparely decorated apartment in the Mitte neighborhood of Berlin, with plate-glass windows overlooking a park. His instrument is a 1923 Steinway B that once belonged to the great Swiss pianist Edwin Fischer. At 7 p.m., Levit pressed the Record button on his smartphone and trotted in front of his newly acquired home-Webcasting equipment, dressed casually in a black-and-gray pullover shirt and black pants. He gave a brief introduction, in German and English: “It’s a sad time, it’s a weird time, but acting is better than doing nothing. Let’s bring the house concert into the twenty-first century.” He then tore into Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Sonata, in a fashion typical of him—precipitate, purposeful, intricately nuanced. It was an imposing structure aglow with feeling.
Man was made for Joy & WoeAnd when this we rightly knowThro the World we safely goJoy & Woe are woven fineA Clothing for the soul divineUnder every grief & pineRuns a joy with silken twine
Using words to capture “love ” and store
Thinking twenty maidens will provide
I don’t know how to love you anymore
The mask is almost perfect, it annoys
Hatred could seep in from the outside
Converting words to weapons which destroy
What dark secret in your soul is stored?
You cut down your better self with pride
I don’t feel I love you anymore
Through the clay and stone a hole is bored
To filch the riches, weapons can be bought
Using words to block out love’s real core
Loving maidens turn to haggard whores
The savings are all stolen,more beside
Learn to love before they close your eyes
Evil acts make evil, turning tides
Judgment finds the virtue,love applies
Use your words to capture love no more
I’m leaving now,I should have left before