Chamber Music, Bar Harbor, Off-Season

Vivaldi’s pizzicato winter falls
On my bared head, as on the tangerine
Tiles overhead, with a soft pluck that calls
Off summer, plain and Indian, to bring
On all-American autumn, full of tears
For all America’s bright college years.
An instance: take this moldering hotel
Built as a monstrous cottage by a swell
Manhattan traction millionaire in 1910,
And now far past its hour; or take this room,
This second chamber: nobs bathed in its long,
Crazed tub with nickel fittings, and were clothed
In white tie, studs, and pumps by a slight man
(The Unknown Servant), and went down to dine.
Was not their bravery of living fine?
The closet holds a lockbox for their jewels;
The ceiling is as high as their desires;
The fireplace, dead, is ample for their fires;
The bed and desk conform to their taut rules.
Outside, the maples shed stars in the pools
On the decedent lawn. The chamber group
Strikes up its water music on the roof
Encore, fretting fleeting, immutable
Silver-toned strings, tuned at the cedar eaves,
Bowed by the balustrade, frayed on the ground.
Likewise impermanent and perpetual,
What will we leave half as ebullient,
Triumphant, telling, personal as this
Old place, old pergola, old hearth, old house?
Roll on, then, fall, sole death that we remember,
Routing the summer in our rented chamber.