Debussy’s Music

by Guy Kettelhack
Wild Poetry Forum
Third Place, October 2013
Judged by Kelly Cherry


Full of un-deciphered crimes,
Debussy’s music makes you sad sometimes,
with all its poignant dreams of chimes

and body scents, chromatic climbs
and schemes and indigent emotion.
We don’t know how anyone can stand

his notion
of polyphony
all nakedly

exposed
and played.
He should have stayed

to tell us how to parse its mist,
or how to clear it.
In his absence, all that we can do is hear it.


I am not a fan of Debussy, but I enjoyed this poem, which, itself, "chimes" a la Debussy's music. There is a quickness, a lithe lightness to the line's rhythms and rhymes, and "to parse its mist" is an accurate--I mean dead-on--assessment of what needs to be done when listening to Debussy. "Mist" is a splendid word here, capturing in a single stroke both what is good and what is bad about Debussy's music. --Kelly Cherry

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