A Pianoforte Recital

Fact everywhere,
An atmosphere, too, of Fact.
She came.
The keyboard lay stretched supine.
The atmosphere closed upon her every movement,
Defining her sharply in the light —
Just those forms, just that life, just that warmth,
Color, glow, flesh — precise, mathematical.
The atmosphere etched her arms,
Bare, perfect, live;
Arms lax, drooping by her sides,
Poise erect,
She sat, still, by the keyboard.
The audience sat up.
Fact spoke clearly
Of mahogany, gilded walls, upholstery,
Dress suits, satin, lace, silk,
Backs of heads, bare shoulders, and stiff collars.
The keyboard lay stretched,
Supine, black, white — ivory.


Like a branch of the willow
Lifted on a breath of the wind,
Stooping low, low, down to the stream,
Her arms lifted in air,
Gently to bend, bend down to the keyboard:
And the keyboard woke
And ran music
Like the stream!
Like a flower
That bends upon her stalk,
She bent her head
Lower, nearer, nearer,
Breathed, and spoke
To her white prancing palfreys —
Her fingers — galloping the ivory surf,
And the notes rushed and leaped,
Danced and whirled and scurried
Like nymphs to the water’s edge:
Ran before her chasing fingers
Down the scale.
Up the scale,
Round the gilded walls,
Up the straight backs of men.
Up the stiff backs of women and chairs,
Ruffling the dignity of Fact!
Down the veins of rheumatic old gentlemen,
Down the capillaries of old Lumbago,
Up and down, laughing and trilling,
And skipping and screaming and
Ruffling all the dignity of Fact,
Unfurling worlds within worlds of Truth!


She ceased.
The atmosphere was filled
With the flying debris of Fact,
And the sprites of Truth
Still danced and made merry.
The Audience sat up
And clapped, sat up and clapped —
Clapped the elves away!
Truth gathered up her faery worlds
And fled,
The dignity of Fact was restored.