Floyd Skloot

Handel in London, 1741
February 7, 2013 Skloot Floyd

Handel in London, 1741


Wedged in a chair near the open window,

Handel gasps and wheezes as he takes in

the August air, fanning himself with a sheaf

of jumbled scripture Jennens gave to him.

He knows the time has come to turn away

from text, move beyond thoughts of prophecy,

sacrifice, or resurrection, and find his way

to the wracked, seething place where words

stop and music always lurks. Where God’s

glory awaits release. He has not been well.

Stroke, melancholy, the weight of work.

He has begun to imagine an end, the terror

of unending silence. Not sure he could rise

from the chair if he wanted to, he closes

his eyes and imagines Ireland, the viceroy’s

invitation, the sea breeze ahead. He dozes

a moment, then starts because all those old

scraps he has been hearing, brief passages

from operas he wrote long ago, from Italian

duets, songs for castrato, are returning,

insisting he make use of them, clear his mind

for fresh melodies. He feels his heart race,

the familiar frenzy beginning to bring

him close to the face of God. Hallelujah.

Floyd Skloot‘s ninth collection of  poems, FAR WEST, was published last year by LSU Press, which has given the book its L.E. Phiiabaum Poetry Award for 2019. LSU also published his collections THE END OF DREAMS (2006), THE SNOW’S MUSIC (2008) and APPROACHING WINTER (2015). His work has won three Pushcart Prizes, The PEN USA Literary Award, and been included in THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS, BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE WRITING, BEST SPIRITUAL WRITING and BEST FOOD WRITING anthologies.