Wayne Zade/ America’s Classical Music #1

I can’t recall now if it’s the violin or cello

that’s closest  in tone or timbre to the human voice,  

but there are moments in listening to recordings 

by Itzhak Perlman or Jacqueline Du Pre when I’m speechless, 

wordless, unable to make a sound other than a sigh. 

Stricken with polio as a child, perhaps Perlman never wondered 

about the number of continents he couldn’t walk on 

to play the Elgar Concerto, the slow movement, 

people often say, heartbreakingly beautiful.   

And Du Pre died at 42, the bow slipping from her hand 

even years earlier.  Yet a room or two away from the recording,  

on a quiet winter afternoon, the last of the sun 

frozen in the trees, the final notes of her Bloch’s Schelomo

are the words I wish I’d said to my father before he died.


Wayne Zade taught creative writing, literature, and jazz courses at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, for many years. He has published poems in various journals, such as American Poetry Review, Poetry, North American Review, Antioch Review, and Shenandoah, and he published his first book of poems, Aurora, in 2019. He lives in Fulton, Missouri.

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