2 December 2003 | Vol. 3, No. 4

from Symphony No. 7

II. The Wandering Phantom

Across vast distances in space, one cat calls to another;

a bat swings round a lamppost like a satellite. I wander

through deserted streets, trying to recall a tune familiar

as my own name—it remains elusive as a smell. I waltz

along the path like an 18th-century Viennese ballroom,

in silk stockings and a powdered wig—there it is again.

I am lost in a neighborhood disconcertingly similar to

my own, where I start to walk faster, and turn a corner

into the grounds of a House, so grand it is almost as if

a—, the stone lions threaten to leap from their plinths.

The moon shivers. A car's horn honks. I have stepped

through a Symphony, onto the set of an Opera, and back

into the ballroom. The orchestra hurries on then stops,

striking up with a new (a tray drops), more stately dance.

And again. A cat walks along a fence-top—slips—leaps

to the ground. Like a ghost. It scrambles, falls: no hope.

About the author:

Paul Rowland graduated from the University of Warwick last year with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. He then went to Russia, where he taught English, worked for a newspaper, did some translation work for the Pushkin Museum, and helped train an all-male Russian theatre company perform Shakespeare in English. He is currently writing a novel, called Metro-3, based on his experiences of living in Moscow. The original short story can be found at the Absinthe Literary Review.

More poems from his sequences based on the symphonies of Gustav Mahler can be read at Stride Magazine.

For further reading:

Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 3, No. 4, where "from Symphony No. 7" ran on December 2, 2003. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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