The Saw Lady and the Sound of Music


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January 14, 2010
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The Saw Lady and
                                the Sound of Music
/Alex Cigale

For Natalia Paruz

How a piece of steel
                            can sound so human
The wooden handle
                          goes between the legs
The serrated side
                        dangerously close

The bow runs along
                          over the steel edge
Ever so slowly
                  bending its body
The greater the bend
                            the higher the note
Who I am and why
                          I was put on this earth

Hand-blown Crystal bowls
                                  mounted on a spindle
The turning edges
                        touched with wet fingers
Crystal changing shape
                               vibrates at volume
The sound fills the room
                               everywhere and nowhere
One of Benjamin
                      Franklin’s inventions
Mesmer used it to
                        relax his patients
The reason we listen
                            with wonder and awe

Three to four to five
                            Pythagoras explained
Same ratio as the
                        harmonic spectrum
All science is combined in this moment

That music works through
                                  sinus and cosinus
Fortissimos, tremolos, lamentosos

Teach me how to play
                            the bicycle pump

Saw Lady


Note: The half-lines of the poem are “hinged” or “jointed”; they are called “hard caesura” in Anglo-Saxon poetry.

About the poet: Alex Cigale edits SYN/AES/THE/TIC, a literary magazine based on the aesthetics of Found Art. His poems have recently appeared in The Cafe, Colorado, Global City, Green Mountains and North American reviews, Drunken Boat, Hanging Loose, McSweeney’s, and Zoland Poetry. Other work can be found online at The Adirondack Review, Babel Fruit, Big Bridge, The Externalist, nthposition, The Potomac Journal, Quarter After Eight, The Salt River Review, and Synaesthetic.
His translations from the Russian can be found in Crossing Centuries: the New Generation in Russian Poetry and in The Manhattan and St. Ann’s reviews.
He was born in Chernovtsy, Ukraine and lives in New York City.

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