Alan Goldfarb







Listening To Mahler


High in the second balcony,

numbed by red wine,

I forget it’s winter outside,

the music moving from sorrow

to joy, from the skeleton dance

of the glockenspiel

to the harp’s glissando rush.

Then piccolos, cowbells . . .

I wake up in an Alpine hut

to the pecking of a strange

yellow bird.

Since it sings so sweetly

and knows nothing of death,

I let it in,

but tell it nothing, nothing.



On The Matter Of Rousseau


You never got beyond the Paris zoo.

Everyone knew your banana trees

were from the Tuileries,

and your waterfall was a leak you saw

in the Seine. Only those spider-monkeys

were real, as they leaped

in the monsoon of your brain.

Still, it’s nice on a winter day

to see your pink flamingos,

and when the nuns sweep by

there’s a tropic breeze.

But how to explain that white horse

in the jaguar’s clutch,

the horror within reach?

And what of The Sleeping Gypsy,

who lies with painted toes

beside her mandolin and water jug,

the lion sniffing her robes?

Yes, let there be music; but first,

something for his amazing thirst.



The Dream


Owl was dressed in a shimmering gown

– she claimed it was her own – and when

I smoothed her down, smoothed her down,

there was a mellow sound:

          Oh  Oh  Oh

She leaped from branch to branch,

as in a dance, and through a skylight

opened to the night, she came to my bed

with her wings spread.

          Oh  Oh  Oh

Welcome, welcome, I said,

and she was pleased by all the mice

she thought she heard, and sighed

in her feathery voice:

          Oh  Oh  Oh



The Lost Child


If there was something you could say

you would have said it;

if there was something you could do

you would have done it;

if there was something you could close

you would have closed it.

But there was nothing – nothing

unsaid, undone, unlocked.

And the fence with its iron gate

saying, No, it wasn’t me, 

and the look-out on the shore

saying, No, it wasn’t me;

and the sea, with its solemn face

saying, as it always says,

It wasn’t me, wasn’t me.

And there was one who once forgot her,

who wrapped her arms about her, saying,

Sleep, sleep, sleep.















*Alan Goldfarb: *Author of two poetry collections, *Said or Unsaid* and *Words Together, Words Alone*. Born and raised in Chicago. He is a graduate of Grinnell College and Syracuse University, where he received a masters degree in public administration.

He worked for the federal government for many years in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, and was a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley where he also served three terms on the city council.

Alan and his wife Arlene have three children and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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