For Wanda Landowska  (La Passacaille)

For Wanda Landowska (La Passacaille)

In broken chords … what memory hoards;
old manner's pomping state?
To strike these notes to note their fire
the ire of courtly fate.

Instruct your fingers, turn the key,
when open will the key of past …
its fickle passion, falsehood see
behind this solemn mask?

Or hear the whispered dark intent,
the fear, intrigue ... her sigh:
a promise (for a moment lent)
each there in descant lie.

Let fly the fancy of its form,
a whirlwind plucked on metal strings.
In trilling laughter thunders born
but soft … now sings so steely sweet.

What weeps
this wigged and powdered art?

Beneath their gold embroidered heaps
compassion plays its part.