Rachel Hadas

Moving the Piano and From the Cliff
May 22, 2023 Hadas Rachel

Moving the Piano


Compact and gleaming, black and white,
this sturdy Yamaha upright
stood staunchly in one room for years
until, maneuvered through several doors
today by two young, slender men
and up a ramp into a van,
it ventured briefly out into the air again.


The change of space, the space of change:
The walls look naked, empty, strange.
Heavy has given way to light.
Habitual solidity
too familiar to see
yields to possibility
too unfamiliar to see.


Late and early, early, late,
end, beginning – all are swirled
into a mist that veils the world.
The black and white of status quo
blends to a color I don’t know,
transition that I cannot name,
but I salute it all the same.
Goodbye, piano, and hello.


So where is the piano going?
Where will it find another life,
music and memories unpacked
in an unfolding second act?
North Carolina, near a river
whose stream, like time, is always flowing.
My son lives there with his wife.


Beloved, nothing lasts forever.
You can’t step twice into this life.



From the Cliff


Dear friend, you liken the sensation
of having a pregnant daughter
to standing in a high place looking out
over wide water


as your child, now a woman, sails away
out of sight with her new family
and into the unknown.


I see it too,
the shining blue that stretches far below.
In this high place you and I
feel exposed to all the winds that blow.


Our children sail away.  And when we too
venture out to sea,
will each vanish from the other’s view?

Rachel Hadas is the author of many books of poetry, essays, and translations, mostly recently poetry collection “Ghost Guest” (2023) and her translation of  Book 16 of Nonnus’s “Tales of Dionysus”, a rollicking epic from the diaspora of late antiquity (2022).  She recently retired from Rutgers University-Newark, where for many years she was Board of Governors Professor of English.