Goldberg Variations

She was seated before me
Listening intently
The lines of her fair neck
Curving so gracefully
Down to golden shoulders.
But it was her long hair,
Plaited nonchalantly,
Which so distracted me.
From a thick auburn crown,
Three separate tresses
Set out resolutely
On their downward journey
To the small of her back,
Meandering slowly
In time to the music,
Now above, now below,
A rare relationship
Of three equal suitors,
Intimate, enfolding,
Sinuous, caressing,
Each lover approaching
The other obliquely
With the same strategy,
Now from left, now from right,
Abandoning thin
Sacrificial wisps
En route,
Each fusing finally,
Molten sand, copper, gold,
All capitulating,
Exhausted totally,
In the baroque coda
Of a black silk ribbon.

Written in St Gallen, Austria, during the music festival in Schloss Gallenstein.
August 1994