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Creation of the Trees

Pascale Petit

after the painting Harmony by Remedios Varo


I set the musical stave on my desk,

strung notes on its metal wires,

using fossils, shells, prisms, as quavers


and semi-quavers, trying to make music

from matter. I summoned treasures

from the chest for so long


I thought it was bottomless, the source

of the rivers of sound that drove my world.

I longed for harmonies to grow the trees,


so the songs of their light would flood my studio.

The muse even lent a hand. She emerged

from the peeling wallpaper, her vellum-


wrinkled fingers moved the notes

until a faint prelude crept out.

The air vibrated like branches in a breeze.


I blew through the clef to add my breath

and the trees became a hovering forest. I composed

falling rain, dew-drip, the budding leaves.

From Poetry London 60 (Summer 2008)