The Music Challenge Issue

Editor's Remarks

I've expressed my pleasure in this group of poems on the indexes for 2012 and the special isues. Twenty-three poems are too many to comment on individually and selecting only a few for comment wouldn't be fair to the rest. So the best remark I can make here is, "Read these poems; read them aloud for best effect. Roll them on your imagination's tongue to savor them." In laying out these pages, I've tried to group and sequence the poems by some affinity among them. While I wouldn't want to explain all my choices, there are reasons for the groupings and order of these ghazals. Perhaps keeping that in mind as you read will increase your pleasure.

Play On

David Jalajel

And music is neither food nor famine. Appetite is
but fancy – that is, apart from the food and famine.

But then there’s excess – oh, and then there is music. For as excess
is appetite – but neither food nor famine – so music is appetite.

But how can music be appetite? Just as appetite
through spoken words is fantastical.

For whom music is appetite, words might be
as well, for music is their capacity for appetite.

And if music is their appetite, then its cadence falls twice: once
for their excess, and once by which surely their love is surfeit.

And if its cadence falls twice, then the lover falls twice,
since music is pure fancy in the lover’s absence.

But where there is loathing, music is fantastical.
Through spoken words, how can a lover be but fancy?

When the lover utters words, loathing utters them as well;
and what third – but a lover and loathing – might sing?

When a lover is fantastical without music,
how is it but fancy to say: “the lover sings”?

To say the lover sings is to say there might be a lover
uttering words, since it is said “the lover sings.”

If the lover sings, it follows that the cadence falls twice: first
to reveal the lover, then for the one who sings once the lover.

If music’s beginning is food in fancy, and fancy also famine, and
if it is but fancy to begin with appetite, where then is music made?

Before music, there is no appetite, nor anything of food
wherein music could be made. How in famine can there be music?

When music does not strain, what then
is food? What is appetite? What is famine?

When the lover does not loathe, loathing cannot surfeit; and
what third – but a lover and loathing – might surfeit?

When the lover is fantastical without music,
how is it but fancy to say: “the lover surfeits”?

There’s no return of appetite, nor of food, nor of famine. So let
the music play on. Let it strain in surfeit, since surfeit is kin to music.

It is wrong to say: “music and the lover are one.”
It is wrong to say: “music and the lover are twain.”

If music were the lover, it would follow
that the actor would be one with the play.

But if we see music and the lover as twain, there could
be music without the lover – and a lover without music.

But again, if we do not see them as one
and as twain, how then do we see?

The music by which the lover is made cannot coax the lover to sing.
If there is no lover before music, who will be singing where?

Music by which the lover is unmade cannot coax the lover to sing,
for it is fantastical for a cadence to fall twice upon a single lover.

The lover who does not sing is, to music, as one
who loathes and utters words as music.

One who both loves and loathes utters words
as music – music as fantastical as the appetite.

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Copyright © 2012, by David Jalajel and Gene Doty.

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