Saturday, March 17, 2018

Poetry and Music Festival at Abington Free Library - Poem: Reading at the Abington Free Library

Got there 20 minutes early and walked all around the parking lot. Luckily I knew about this event. Karen Burnham had sent out email announcements.

 John Sall and Elise Paschen (German surname). I recognized John from Abington Presbyterian Church. He's the choir director. Very tall. In the below pic his wife Ruth stands next to him. They have four girls and the little leprechaun is Ruby, methinks.

Got Ruth's email address as she teaches singing. My former instructor Caitlyn, in Hatboro, moved to my birth state, N C.
I had submitted poems to Misfit magazine. Quickly rejected.  Click here to read Aleppo, scroll down, which he didn't accept. Alan, the editor, asked if I made up the name of the ballerina, Maria Tallchief.

Our poet, Elisa Paschen, is the DAUGHTER of Maria Tallchief. I wrote Alan to tell him.

I actually gasped when Elisa said she was the daughter.

Not terribly many people in the audience. Audrey from our Upper Moreland Library was there, walking with a cane and holding her crash helmet as she walks everywhere. So was someone from our Book Group who would be mortified if I wrote her name.

Oh no! More pretzel rods please. I'll pliee into the kitchen to get them.

 When I first saw Elise, I thought, What a beautiful woman! We chatted briefly when I bought her book The Nightlife.

Many folks bought her book. You always have the poet endorse it. Haven't read it yet but I will later when I'm riding my bike.

Her mother had dementia. She recognized her family, barely, but was not the same person. 

She, her husband, and children live in Chicago. The oldest girl is going to Stanford and her son is still in high school.
 Oh, the white-haired woman introduced herself and her husband to me. Susan and Gil High. We talked about her beautiful white hair. I'll see them both the morrow at 3 pm for the concert.

Just called Nelson, sexton, at APC to urge him to come.

His no. is in my phone book I bought years ago from Myrna.

John and Ruth Sall were discussing other collaborations of lyrics and music.

The last four songs of Richard Strauss. Listen here.  Elisabeth Schwartkopf.

Mahler Kindertotenlieder by Dieter Fischer-Dieskau. Listen here. What a handsome man he was. I vividly remember listening to him on the radio.  Read about Dieter here.

And of course the wonderful Knoxville, Summer of 1915, commissioned by the singer Eleanor Steber, lyrics by James Agee.

Listen to Knoxville here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna write a poem about today's event. It's 8:32 pm and I'll turn on some music.


Elise was beautiful
her long blonde hair
Indian-long, though
I had no idea she was
the daughter of Maria Tallchief.

When I learned, I gasped.
Right here in Abington,
Pennsylvania. Her mother
had danced with everyone,
Rudy Nureyev - what a lovely
name and body - Baryshnikov -
these Russians have danced
their way through Gingerbread
Forests, arising like
nightingales from the earth
and pirouetting toward the heavens.

She cried when she read
about her mother, entangled
in the web of dementia,
and her elderly dad with
gnarled hands, O Lord
what becomes of us
as we age?

Elise's smile was huge
a neverending smile
radiating across the
yellow room and up
the stairs and into
the parking lot where
she banished the cold
and the piles of snow,
the daughter of the dancer
we can watch tonight
Maria Tallchief, dancing
on a moonbeam. 

Image result for maria tallchief

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