Wrapping Christmas presents, listening to Bach.


Shapcott’s Variation on Schoenberg’s orchestration of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, St Anne

Where does it come from this passion
for layers? I could eat the lexicon,
breathe whole fugues in German and Latin,
rub notes on my skin to make my pores sing.

I love it, like this, when I lose touch
with whose the voice is, whose the fingers
on the bow, the pen, whose mouth
the noise belongs to in the end.

Numbers make me tremble in Spring.
I want to counterpoint them until I careen
off the edge of the world disputing
with God himself about the number seven.

Jo Shapcott


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