One Place in New England
by David P. Miller
to Charles Ives and his symphonic cataclysm
The trumpets and drums of “Putnam’s Camp”
topple over each other in a race toward high-
steppin’ small-town holiday promenade
and its irresistible brass detonation.
“The Housatonic at Stockbridge”: an immersed
orchestral mass, recollected river swelling
from flow and eddy, to inundate, climax
and fall back. A sigh before silence.
Two of Ives’ Three Places in New England
rise a quarter mile in present sound,
reach my black iron table and chair
on a Lenox inn porch. Out of the arched throat
of the Shed at Tanglewood, past the highway
skirting a margin of Stockbridge, uphill
through the apple trees. Music, filtered
by landscape, diffused into roofless sky.
An inchoate tonal pile, I follow this with water
hinting at the corners of my eyes,
because I know these contrary harmonies
from the vinyl I spun at age twelve,
gazing through the living room window
at our own home mountain vision.
Mr. Ives, if only you could hear this
with me, tangled with the traffic below,
the clatter of breakfast gathered
from metal tables by summer workers,
Chairs scraped back into place
across the vintage painted wood
braided with soprano confidences
regarding some kitchen contretemps.
The glory of your all-of-it-at-once,
Charles, that divine discord.
Originally published in The Poetry Porch, 2020
PHOTO: The Apple Tree Inn, Lennox, Massachusetts.
NOTE: Apple Tree Inn is located in the heart of the Berkshires in Lenox, Massachusetts. The property is host to an 1885 Victorian-style manor situated on 22 acres of rolling hills facing Stockbridge Bowl (Lake Mahkeenac).
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written at Apple Tree Inn, Lenox, Massachusetts, in August 2019. I was sitting on the breakfast porch, and sounds from the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s morning rehearsal filtered uphill. The music itself described the part of the world where I sat.
PHOTO: The author at Apple Tree Inn, Lennox, Massachusetts (2019).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David P. Miller’s collection, Sprawled Asleep, was published by Nixes Mate Books in 2019. His chapbook, The Afterimages, was published by Červená Barva Press in 2014. His poems have recently appeared in Meat for Tea, Hawaii Pacific Review, Seneca Review, Denver Quarterly, Turtle Island Quarterly, Halfway Down the Stairs, Constellations, The American Journal of Poetry, Lily Poetry Review, Nixes Mate Review, Unlost, and Northampton (UK) Review. His poem “Add One Father to Earth” was awarded an Honorable Mention by Robert Pinsky for the New England Poetry Club’s 2019 Samuel Washington Allen Prize competition. With a background in experimental theater before turning to poetry, David was a member of the multidisciplinary Mobius Artists Group of Boston for 25 years. He was a librarian at Curry College in Massachusetts, from which he retired in June 2018.