Ode to a Musical Positivist

You shy away from social things to say
With good descriptions all that you can hear.
The content you prefer is musical.

Ignore the context: analyse the notes.
The social background’s secondary here…
So don’t say it if it’s not on the page!
And please don’t speculate on history
Or run the risk to o’er-philosophise,
To lose the notes in verbiage that distracts
From the romantic genius of that muse.

You write descriptions that are colourful
That capture music: freeze sounds on a page.
Your evocations feel the grain and sing
The groove. That is unusual in your field.
No soporific dull descriptions here.
The music breathes. It climbs and falls. It sings.
So your analysis is a response,
An echo or a mirror that reflects
The light and mirrors what it sees.

But please:
When I should drown I would that you weren’t there
To editorialize, adapt, describe.
To capture on the page my noble fight
For breath, my desperate screams: my cries for help.
You would describe the water with great skill.
But would you wade in, risk to lend a hand?
Or rather stand on shore and write it down?
Your positivism would not allow
Another context to participate.
My death you would describe in accurate
Felicity. Immortalize me thus
As Shakespeare did poor mad Ophelia.

When I should drown I would that you weren’t there.
I’d want another breed of analyst
With social conscience to philologize
Contextually. To not describe but play
An active part in framing my discourse
With empathy and insight and with love.

“I’m drowning here and you’re describing the water” – As Good as it Gets

(Etienne Viviers)


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