SOME INNER PROMPTINGS
Composed and published in the last dozen years of the life of Siyyid Kazim, 1831-1843, Chopin's Ballades are the result of an obedience to his inner promptings. This is also true to my own poetry. The Ballade was originally a vocalized poem and, with Chopin, whom Liszt called 'the most poetic musician,' followed no set form, no definite programme, except that dictated by his own musical instincts.1 Such is the case with my own largely unvocalized poems: the instinct I follow is what Shakespeare calls my "own sweet skill," a structure of language, ideas and experience and varying degrees of inspiration, with an immediate and sincere impulse.2
-Ron Price with thanks to 1Harold Lawrence, "Record Cover," Chopin Ballades: Jeanette Doyen and 2A.L. Rowse, Shakespeare's Sonnets, MacMillan, London, 1964, p.vii.
There's been a flowering here,
calm idyllic themes
with stormy, complex passages.
Some thoughts I come to
again and again, obsessed,
with some opening phrase
seeming to create
a narrative mood
on which I ride to the end.
Do these poems have
some destined end1
begun in loss and fatigue,
now each to each with loop and twist,
tugging at one and tightening another,2
distilling some essence of it all
that, perchance, I may live beyond the wall
of death whose voice calls quietly down the hall.
1 "Every species of poetry has its destined offices." Voltaire on Shakespeare.
2 Paul Ramsey, The Fickle Glass: A Study of Shakespeare's Sonnets, AMS Press, NY, p.3.
28 July 2002