Here is the text of the poem, written specifically for David Rakowski to set to music as part of the song cycle, "Suddenly, A Wind Goes Over." [Editions Peters score No. P67616] The poem also appears at the end of Magical Thinking. Here's how the poem came about: Davy Rakowski & I had met at Yaddo & after that corresponded for a while. Sometime in the early 90s Davy called me up & asked me to write some poems "with wind in them." I had been reading my old teacher Sandra McPherson's poems at the time, including a triolet from, I think, her third book. I also had Wittgenstein in mind, especially the ending of the Tractatus (about which there has been so much debate & just plain disagreement). Sitting in my office, for some reason I pulled the RSV bible off the shelf, turned to the concordance & looked up wind. In Psalms I found "Days are like grass the wind moves over." That evening I wrote my own overdetermined triolet & shortly after that Rakowski set it to music.

For Wittgenstein

Days are like grass the wind moves over:
first the wind & then the silence—
what cannot be said we must pass over
in silence, or play some music over
in our heads. Silently, a wind goes over
(we know from the motion of the grass).
Days are like grass; the wind goes over:
first the wind & then the silence.


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