Johann Sebastian Bach

Telemann beat him for the Hamburg post;
Vivaldi – all those girls and him a priest;
and Handel got a thousand pounds at least
each opera. So tell him he’s the most

famous composer Europe ever knew –
people who don’t like music sing along
his fugues, toccatas, gigues. He’d find it wrong.
That one of his concertos somehow flew

out past the planets would leave him quite cold
Right now he’s broke. Bringing up all those sons,
teaching them music. Somehow cash just runs
between his fingers. Now he’s getting old

and out of fashion. He’d just walk away.
There’s two cantatas he must write today.


About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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7 Responses to Sonnet

  1. cmcmck says:

    ‘Johann Sebastian almighty Bach’

    ‘Bach every time for me…and then….Palestrina’

    (Dylan Thomas, from: ‘Under Milk Wood’ :o)

    Great poem!

  2. papersky says:

    I think Bach is the opposite of our Romantic vision of the artist — composing so much, every day, for a salary, while remaining happily married and bringing up loads of musical kids.

    His music makes me happy, always.

  3. deliasherman says:

    Ah, the artist’s life. The problem with artistic immortality is that you’re not alive to enjoy it. I do enjoy your poems, Roz.

  4. selenak says:

    What a brilliant way to summon Bach into poetry.

    …years ago, someone did a great radio play about a fictional encounter between Bach and Händel, which was great, but you say it all in so much fewer lines…

  5. He was the very best.

  6. badger says:

    I especially love that last line.

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