Alexander Rabb CC
Songsters of the Troubled Heart
Driving in rain, radio soft, Karen Dalton’s throaty voice, a wind finding cracks, a drug’s effect, a siren,
invokes me. To what? Bygone chances missed in that ossuary of broken dreams, past wrongs? I
have flexed my scornful wit on music’s cryptic lyrics, but then, what about Wulf & Eadwacer? Now
this song illuminating the shadows, that creaking fiddle evoking crossing old iron bridges slowly,
sultry light flickering, starting with the plaintive drawn-out opening: Yesterday, cherished youth
vanished. Begirded by heartache I want to rush back, save Karen from dead-set trouble, keep her off
the streets, above ground, fend off danger as she pours out her wounded life.
Now the sweet redolent intro of Moby’s Mistake, then grief as the pensive beat explores my heart’s
lacunae, leaves me depleted. Another song about regret. I could have died a dozen deaths, but
survived. Wrenched apart by songs? C’mon. I heard the mournful cries of trams at night’s edge,
remember smouldering words igniting. This beat hammers my superannuated memory, a song not
from my time yet relevant, playing wintry scenes I can smell again in my mind. The sky god batters
me, wipers losing it. I would drive beyond this bleary gloom, re-enter remnants of the ghostly tattered
past, a voice repeating my name, stanch this wretched helplessness. Don’t let me make the
same mistake again.
A troubadour’s lute
heard beyond the castle wall
pricks hearts rich and small.
Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Antipodes, cordite, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Salzburg Review, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.
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