Seasonally Appropriate--Why I like Dana Gioia


This little song from the opera Nosferatu which I have never heard nor seen performed, and yet which I would very much like to enjoy is at the tail end of an essay on metrical verse. It is an example of how metrical verse works, and it is also quite a lovely poem in itself.

Vampire's Nocturne from Nosferatu
Dana Gioia

I am the image that darkens your glass,
The shadow that falls wherever you pass.
I am the dream you cannot forget,
The face you remember without having met.

I am the truth that must not be spoken,
The midnight vow that cannot be broken.
I am the bell that tolls out the hours.
I am the fire that warms and devours.

I am the hunger that you have denied,
The ache of desire piercing your side.
I am the sin you have never confessed,
The forbidden hand caressing your breast.

You've heard me inside you speak in your dreams,
Sigh in the ocean, whisper in streams.
I am the future you crave and you fear.
You know what I bring. Now I am here.

For more of Dana Gioia's work, look here. I particularly recommend the very touching "Planting a Sycamore" written on the death of his infant son.

[Note later: I do this every time, so I leave the error here to remind me. The title of the poem is "Planting a Sequoia", now, Steven repeat after me, "Sequoia, not Sycamore" ... "Sequoia sempervivens" ... "Gosh darn it, they aren't even in the same Division of Plantae. . ."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 26, 2002 8:43 AM.

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