It's been raining lately, and few things are better on a rainy day than listening to moody classical music, preferably on scratchy vinyl. There is, for me, a feeling in that combination of sounds that is very difficult to describe. It is always difficult to describe music with words, but poet James Schuyler (painted above by Fairfield Porter) does a fitting job in this poem, bringing us into a simple moment in a New York apartment, listening to Fauré .

On a day like this the rain comes
down in fat and random drops among
the ailanthus leaves---"the tree
of Heaven"---the leaves that on moon-
lit nights shimmer black and blade-
shaped at this third-floor window.
And there are bunches of small green
knobs, buds, crowded together. The
rapid music fills in the spaces of
the leaves. And the piano comes in,
like an extra heartbeat, dangerous
and lovely. Slower now, less like
the leaves, more like the rain which
almost isn't rain, more like thawed-
out hail. All this beauty in the
mess of this small apartment on
West 20th in Chelsea, New York.
Slowly the notes pour out, slowly,
more slowly still, fat rain falls.

(Imaginary Penguin cover by Duncan Hannah.)

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