Frederica von Stade Sings Dvořák – by Margaret Holley


Like dark red velvet,
burgundy wine, or the smoky
fleece of clouds rolling over
a flaming sunset, like a large
soft body enfolding yours
in the sanctuary of ample flesh,

this is the voice that saved your life,
though you could not hear it
back then, its power
and tenderness. Still, some
seedling down below the ground
of thought was all ears.

She sings in Prague for Dvořák,
dead for a century, sings
of the netherworld you visit when
your heart goes out for a lost one
as far as the far horizon
and no farther,

but then farther beyond all
our limiting landscapes,
valley of cypress and palms,
the winking gems of the city,
the moon rising – an eyelid
slowly opening in the horizon.

You enter the opera for one aria
to learn at last what it is
you are hearing:
the god you lost your faith in
has left you one of his angels,
and here she is.



Margaret Holley’s most recent book of poems is Walking Through the Horizon (University of Arkansas Press, Newer poems have appeared in online at Bluepepper, Eclectica, Gnarled Oak, The Tower Journal, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. She serves as a docent at Winterthur Museum in Delaware.


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