One Fine Day

There’s a sparkling space
between orchestra
and clear soprano voice,
a tragic butterfly
in a bell jar, bright wings
shimmering before she’s pinned.

Puccini’s signature violins swirl
and an incidental flute curls,
a ship’s smoke on the far horizon,
as Cio-Cio-San’s dream spills:
one fine day, she’ll see
Pinkerton climbing up the hill.

The voice, clear as crystal,
at first wavers, vulnerable,
and augments until
the highest note declares
‘Aspetto’; she will wait.
Will she accept her fate?

The melancholy aria
twists a knife in my heart,
from the hopeful start
to the agonising end,
and my own tears build
until sadness descends.

Kim M. Russell, 4th June 2019

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Cry Me a River, also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Amaya is our host this week, reminding us that ‘great music revitalizes the weary soul, expressing what words cannot, healing where medicine fails, guiding when the light has been extinguished’.  She says that as poets, though words are the tools of our trade, we are keen to the arsenal of literary devices and instruments that, when used wisely, can evoke the soul in much the same way that music does.

Amaya asks, when we consider melancholy, grief, or even profound joy — any overpowering emotion that might cause us to cry — what in our music lets us feel so deeply that it provides space for us to explore and affirm our sorrow?

For inspiration, she has shared poems by Seán Ó Coileáin and D.H. Lawrence, and asks to write about music that has made us shed tears. She would like poems about the experience and, if possible, links to songs via YouTube.

53 thoughts on “One Fine Day

  1. Amazing what can be movingly shared through voice and words. I saw her voice as a wave in the sea, power tinged with sadness. Love the butterfly image.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Glenn! I like classical music, tolerate most opera, and adore Puccini. But I’m first and foremost a Joni Mitchell fan, and a rock and metal girl at heart.


  2. Ah! So beautiful is this evocation — I love how you narrated this entire scene with its rises and falls, hope and despair, beauty and melancholy. It’s almost like a musical form of ekphrasis where your words and emotions emanated in such an astounding manner from the symphony.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, just amazing music…. the orchestra, her voice, her expressions. The years of training… the instrumentals and the voice. Your poetry is wonderfully depictive and I always admire rhyme. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve never seen Madam Butterfly, but my mother used to sing songs from it. I was a very sensitive child, and one day I saw a butterfly lying dead on the sidewalk. I became inconsolable. When my father (RIP) and I returned home, my grandmother was on the phone. My mother asked me to say hello to my grandmother, and I wailed “poor butterfly!” into the receiver.
    I’m honestly not surprised that my family didn’t know what to make of me. I was odd from the start. Or, as my late friend Walt would have said, fukt 2 start wit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Toni. My favourite wedding anniversary was front seats at the Royal Albert Hall to see Madam Butterfly. I had no idea, my husband had planned it with precision., and I remember the goosebumps as Butterfly and her the chorus of the wedding party moved down between the seats to the performance area below, singing ‘Ancora un passo’ (“One step more”).


  5. Absolutely beautiful, Kim, that first stanza is perfect, particularly the bell jar image. I am not an opera fan, but you’ve got me thinking I should take a second listen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! My husband, a lifelong metal fan, didn’t know a thing about opera but he loves Puccini now,. We’ve been to see Madam Butterfly many times and in different countries.


  6. With the title I immediately started singing that old Chiffons song in my head, but I thought, ‘Nah, Kim must be onto something else.’ Haha. Then what a contrast. What a beautiful aria and I can see how the knife twists in heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There is so much power in a well performed piece of music, especially when technical prowess is wed to pure expression of emotion. You captured that trancendental feeling of being so moved that for a moment you exist in the world expressed in the music so beautifully here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “a tragic butterfly
    in a bell jar, bright wings
    shimmering before she’s pinned.”
    These lines are incredibly perceptive…..and so very powerful in explaining the feeling that wells up inside you when you are inside the emotions of a piece and moment like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lill. It’s a huge challenge to try to convey a goosebumps-on-your-arms moment mixed with emotions of sadness at the tragedy and joy at the beauty of the music. I wasn’t sure if I’d managed that but, going by the various comments, including your kind words, I think I must have. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I just set up my blog and saw this. I was lucky enough to sing the Un Bel Di Vedremo a number of times – not the whole opera – and it was one of my favorites. Thank you for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

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