April 7, 2015
Music Appreciation

Disassembled deer in Indiana woods

inspire a queer sort of music,

 

pitched to an ear of infinite range

but deaf to the nuanced performance

 

tragedy and comedy require, playing

everything equally droll.

 

Dionysian dogs drag loud bones,

one by one, through whispers

 

of snow, merry to make

a xylophone, or with any luck,

 

intact, an entire accordion, lock picked,

pearl-button cage pried open.

 

Here comes a clownish hound now

carrying a tune, neck stiff, nose held high,

 

—a majorette’s strut, a maenad’s smile—

proud to have scented the tenor out

 

in an otherwise rank baton, note bent

to a black clef (but hard, hard, the heart-

 

shaped hoof off in the hunter’s den,

upturned to heaven, holding the guilty gun)—

 

a bitter hook, the pan pipe stopped and fauns

scattered, wisely hid. There by the brook, hide

 

and head—a hollow look with brain pan gone,

but eyes left to cling, daft, like two dull coins

 

on a leather tambourine. The bright red creek

gurgles indifferent to what goes down

 

its goat-like throat, evening sun or flattened can

of Orange Crush—it’s all the same.

 

But those who drive out from Terre Haute

expecting to be soothed by nature’s song,

 

come upon a dismantled corpse, and scorn

the hunter’s chase, ought to recall the thrill

 

in ancient, antlered groves of fiery tongues

and golden Orpheus, flushed to crimson,

 

leaping above the flames, followed

by an ashen hush.

 

–Kathy Barbour (Jefferson County)

This poem previously appeared in Literary Imagination.

 

Kathy Barbour (260x308)

Kathy Knuckles Barbour, of Madison, Indiana  teaches American literature and creative  writing at Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana. Her poems have appeared in Literary Imagination, Atlanta Review, Southwest Review, Southeast Review, Raritan, Catch Up, and other magazines.

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!

Posted In: Poetry

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