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19 June 2024

The NS Poem: On Rachmaninoff’s Birthday

A new poem by Tim Liardet.

By Tim Liardet

Sergei Vasilyevich, you never got to mine
among the many foreheads that you reached to
if music is time or time made audible
it is for those who seem often not to be there
behind their own dark, preoccupied glances
when a gaze on the interior is being exercised
and the nape reddens slyly in its depths.                    
It is for those whose frowns are not fretful
and who even at six are thoughtful and long-haired 
and know music keeps them nearer than God.             
It is for those who speak only in eulogy
and chortle in a ring with arms behind their backs
and when chin is brought to instrument
who move their bodies oddly, whose faces change.

Tim Liardet’s “The Blood Choir” (Seren) and “The World Before Snow” (Carcanet) were both shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

[See also: The NS Poem: Civet de Cerf]

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This article appears in the 19 Jun 2024 issue of the New Statesman, How to Fix a Nation