Kate McNamara – Dialogue

Kate McNamara LEP&W V3 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three December 2022.

Dialogue with Bach’s Cello Concerto in G Major, poem by Kate McNamara.

Dialogue with Bach’s Cello Concerto in G Major

O dark-brown, velvet wings of music, your feathered notes gather in my heart like the prelude to a storm. Were you, too, God-born in Hades, craving light and air, carving skin back to bone, muscle, nerve, screaming, soaring across skin and ears, trembling with memory, the ache of sound and perfection. The viscera of dreams drawn from the arch and fall of the daemonic bow.

You sang through trees once, heard the ancient beat of the gnarled heart, the smooth-rough surface of tree-skin, warm bark, transgenic; we communicate you and I; me with my tangled roots and hair furled through branches in the green-grey gloaming; I was leaf-blood, photosynthetic, reaching for light and the thin rain of spring; reaching for strung notes in the canopy beyond the sky, beyond the stars as Venus sets beyond the mountains and evening drops like a carapace. In that place of Dryads and ancient spirits, you were shaped and orchestrated from aged wood.

In the warm bowl of your music I become, again, the original primitive, protogenetrix of a thousand years, my genes will span the planet like lei lines, splitting and arcing and re-configuring in the surging of music as we dance under fat moons and stars that curl on the edges of the cosmos; we will feed on leaf mould and magic as the echo of each note vibrates in the viscous marrow of our bones, in the hush of blood, on the lips of the last lover; night shining in his eyes, the warm-wet flesh of endless conduits of communion; windows of lace and lust, champagne and cognac while in the whorl of eardrums the music traces the shell-shaped spiral of melody and tears. Beneath all the wasted tumescence of lovers’ words, music roamed, searching and unsatisfied.

Sound lingers on my skin, like salt slick from sea foam and then you leave but only for a moment, silence, the Concerto waits for the beginning of the world, for the beginning of a breath, in the stasis before the beat of a heart, it gathers itself inward. Tidal pull, the flesh of old moons as the music curls and circles, leaving me empty with longing, speechless, husked like a seed pod and then grows as luscious as a sea-anemone and the opalescent gleam of squid, as endless as the ocean coiled, one note flowing through another, flooding the holes that are torn in restless nights and in a thousand bruised tears or stars hung like crystals, strung beads amidst the bones of the white ghost gum. Reverberating through the tomb of Orpheus, pulsing and unfulfilled amidst shades and spirits and the majestic presence of Eurydice, unable to yield to life or the living song of breath.

© Kate McNamara

Kate McNamara is a Canberra based poet, playwright and critical theorist. Her plays have been performed internationally. McNamara delivered the opening address to the Fourth International Conference of Women Playwrights in Galway (2001). She was awarded the H.C Coombs Fellowship at ANU (1991) and elected to the Emeritus Faculty. She won The Banjo Patterson Award for her short story Verity. Her published works include Leaves, The Rule of Zip (AGP) Praxis and The Void Zone (AGP). Her poetry, short fiction and critical theory has been published in a number of anthologies including There is No Mystery (ed. K Kituai, 1998), The Death Mook (ed. Dion Kagan, 2008) These Strange Outcrops(2020) and The Blue Nib (2020) She has also worked extensively as an editor and has only recently returned to her first great love, poetry. McNamara is currently working on The Burning Times.

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