Is it the tinkling of mandolins which disturbs you ? Or the dropping of bitter-orange petals among the coffee-cups ? Or the slow creeping of the moonlight between the olive-trees ? Drop I drop I the rain Upon the thin plates of my heart. String your blood to chord with this music, Stir your heels upon the cobbles to the rhythm of a dance-tune. They have slim thighs and arms of silver ; The moon washes away their garments ; They make a pattern of fleeing feet in the branch shadows, And the green grapes knotted about them Burst as they press against one another. The rain knocks upon the plates of my heart, They are crumpled with its beating. Would you drink only from your brains, Old Man ? See, the moonlight has reached your knees, It falls upon your head in an accolade of silver. Rise up on the music, Fling against the moon-drifts in a whorl of young light bodies : Leaping grape-clusters, Vine leaves tearing from a grey wall. You shall run, laughing, in a braid of women, And weave flowers with the frosty spines of thorns. Why do you gaze into your glass, And jar the spoons with your finger-tapping ? The rain is rigid on the plates of my heart. The murmur of it is loud loud.
- by Amy Lowell (1874 - 1925), "Little ivory figures pulled with string", appears in Pictures of the Floating World, first published 1919 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Miriam Gideon (1906 - 1996), "Little ivory figures pulled with string", 1950. [low voice or medium voice and guitar] [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2009-02-18
Line count: 27
Word count: 223