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Classical Poetry: Read your poems inspired by Kats-Chernin's 'Eliza Aria'

Elena Kats-Chernin's "Eliza Aria"

Classical music often evokes pictures in your mind, but how about words?

April is National Poetry Month, and we celebrated in a uniquely classical way. Each Monday, we posted a musical selection. Listeners then sent us original poems inspired by the music. We published our favorites the following week. Take a look at each week's poems and try it for yourself!

Click here to see poetry submissions inspired by Ludovico Einaudi's 'Golden Butterflies.'

Click here to see poetry submissions inspired by Beethoven's 'Scene by the Brook.'

Click here to see poetry submissions inspired by William Grant Still's Symphony No. 1 "Afro-American": III. Animato.

Last week's musical selection was Elena Kats-Chernin's "Eliza Aria"

Poems inspired by Elena Kats-Chernin's "Eliza Aria"


During this global pandemic, where we're all staying at home,
Our inner chef emerges, across new boundaries of baking we roam.

From simple breads and sourdough, to eggless cakes and French Gougeres,
The days blend together, have I changed my underwear?

The kids of course, are in it too.
Elbows covered in what dries to glue.

Watch out! Be careful! The oven's HOT!
Fantastic smells, the taste hits the spot!

Oh wait, before it's gone, let's snap a pic,
So our Instagram followers their screens will lick,
The cleaning aftermath will be anything but quick.

Rounding the fed, although disheveled troupe, we wipe and sweep and wash and scrub,
Just as bedtime routines start, brush teeth and run the tub.

But in my heart I know we'll all remember the day,
When we again yearn to be locked away.

The evening's calming and again I go online,
for the next great recipe of all time!

— Paula Huerkamp, Minneapolis

The Wind's Dance

She tiptoes out of her room and into life
The grace and care behind each step, a credit to her young age.
The wind greets and welcomes her,
It tells her she's destined to be bold.

Tiptoeing through the boardwalk she dances,
Faces in awe or indifference,
Her lover walks, rigidly from a distance.

She tiptoes, hurriedly chasing little tiptoeing feet,
The wind always greets the young,
She remembers this well.

She tiptoes out of bed and tries to make it out of her room,
Her feet no longer bold,
But when she opens a window she hears the tune,
The song the wind still hums,
And brings her peace.

— Ruben Santana, North Bay Village

Eliza Aria

Tiptoes, tiptoes,
that's how I happily
walk toward you.

Don't smile at me,
Pretend that you didn't see.
the little me,
the humble me,
will be easily surrendered.

But, don't ignore me,
My heart is a torch,
if you despise me
it will burn the whole me,
completely, into ashes.

Tiptoe, tiptoe,
that's how I sadly
walk away from you.

— Yafeng Lin, Port Orange

It's Fantastical

When perchance we dream,
Who knows what can happen by
the light of the moon?

— Sandra Overland, Richfield

The Journey

I'm almost eighty, and share this journey with you.
You might think living alone would prepare one for this,
But not really, this is different.
When you live alone, your companions are newscasters;
But today, on any channel, they scare you.
You look outside, and see houses
With lights, but no visible people.
They are there, for sure, but hunkered down,
A bit like the nursing home you have long avoided.
I feel like a caged wild swan.
I want to fly but don't know where.
I hear that the estuaries down south are nice,
But getting there is dangerous and beyond my physical limitations.
Maybe next year, if I am lucky, and avoid this disease.
Maybe next year if my heart doesn't break from yearning,
I'll give it a try.
I hear that Texas can be a very good place to be a swan.

— Andrew Smith, Wayzata

When Earth Breathes Full

When earth breathes full
And longing soars
We'll lift our grief and scars

We'll lift the songs
That bind our wounds
Then sing them to the stars

When longing soars
And doors fling wide
We'll reach for young and old

We'll reach at last
To weep in arms
Of those we could not hold

When doors fling wide
And borders fade
The sky will send us doves

The doves bring hope
The hope brings you...
A world so changed yet loved

— Kristi Larsen, Atlanta


I lay there sleepy
Tired and weepy
Remembering those times
Where everything seemed just fine
When I could just grin
When chocolate ice cream dripped down my chin
When I would smile all the time
When I watched all of those stars shine
When the world was calm
When I sang so many songs
When all was good
When all was as it should
When all shown bright
When I could always see the light
When there was no war
And happiness forevermore

— Sophie Milstein, Shorewood

Tjukurrpa Corroborees: Same stories a new way

The dreaming.
Not time
past or future
not time at all.

Ancestral spirits
tribal lines
messages carved by culture
lines woven in soul.

Connecting to earth
designing dreams

Swirls, parallel lines, roundlets,
rockholes, soakage water
among the shifting sand hills.
Digging for edible roots
or silky pear vine.

Sinuous lines, shades and shadows of ochre
the creek, Yunala tubers
cascading, tracing origins.
Rocky outcrops
an explosion of kampurarrpa berries,
pura to skewer on a stick.
Minyma Tjuta gather,
dance, and sing
wearing spun hair string skirts.

The insensate snake sleeps in the swamp.

The cyclical
secrets of nature
songlines of place and purpose
remembering and
fashioning the iconography
of the desert.

— Timothy Langhorst, Perrysburg

Somewhere in the Suburbs

flying on wings of light
my sight is filled
with visions... streetlights
cartwheeling down
the sidereal sidewalk... broken
cottonwood trees falling
over their roots
into Beaver Lake...
great blue herons flapping
above the reed filled ripples
and then, soaring over red
roofs... my hands
are lobster claws
held closed by rubber bands...
my wings are a function
of remembered rays
of sightless light...
in a restaurant, somewhere
in the suburbs....

— Norman Olson, Maplewood


She dances alone on tip toes,
He swirls solo on flat feet.
Are not yin and yang meant to meet?

— Werner Lange, Newton Falls


Look into your eyes in the mirror.
What do you see?
Do you see the blue sky or deep turquoise of the sea?
Or the green shine of trees?
Or the warm brown of earth.
We are not separate from this earth, this land or water beneath our feet.
We are born of it along with all innocent flying, crawling, swimming singing beings.
Are born, arisen from our mother earth.
Care for her and she will protect and love you too.
Life feels unsure right now, we can rest with her and protect her and have gratitude for what she provides.

— Betsy Blume, Grand Marais


It's a pot of nettles,
this tale,
a dozen nocturnal

It's a sky full of swan,
a room full of knitting

A plan of shirts,
a mute misunderstanding,
arpeggios bearing
the necessary stings,

the endless click of
loop after loop
towards the overcoming

Curses be damned,
fourths towards forth,
the saving sister

— Katrin Talbot, Madison

Springtime Flowers

Springtime flowers
by the breezes blown
nod and greet the sun
along with the dancing bees
that round the tulip beds
buzz about and run
half-drunk with light
and the nectar of delight.

— Jeff Burnoski, North Branch

Child of Air

A budding Child pirouettes
Lightly emulating a bird of a feather
She floats and flutters
Across an airy meadow of delight
Her delicate angel wings
Kiss the waving flower field
She slowly tires, enfolds herself
Among wild buttercups, dandelions
She rests her birdlike dance
Upon a bed of clover and dreams
Sweet Child of Air

— Sharon Hulett, Minnetonka

Cat Nap

My cat is dreaming.
Tail, whiskers twitch. Paws paddle.
Predator or prey?

— Kitty Millard, Jordan

Eliza's Aria

Swirled dancing snowflakes at early dawn
I am strolling across the dewed lawn
Dim light of morning shimmering gold
Another day peaceful to have and hold
The sky is cloudy today of course
Angled sun through them glows without force
I walk downhill frosted into the wood
Feeling light-hearted all very good
Softly streams of cool rays fill my sight
Cut by dark boughs increasingly bright

A doe is waltzing with her fawn bold
Some deer shiver from overnight's cold
Out of the wood aimed steady on course
Eyes and ears focus on any source
Shrub crackles then all motionless stood
Transfixed Tall-Eyed buck with full manhood
Guide your herd well oh valiant knight
No competitors will wish to fight
Rut long over will now come more fawn
From wood to full meadow all are drawn

Dark movement closes as a racehorse
Unbridled surefooted no remorse
Grey wolf snarling knowing he should
Quell his hunger in all likelihood
Chasing consuming to the last bite
Slow ones disoriented filled with fright
Closer he comes this death march Bataan
Old himself tires deer scatter gone
Sensing their fates grow released untold
Trees to grasses the meadows unfold

Among skillful peers proudly she stood
Early blooms white on nearby dogwood
Her sky all full so vivid with light
On shimmering lime-green blades alight
Nature's full bounty nothing withdrawn
Cacophonies sight and sound now spawn
Wood birds to thrushes their lives are owed
Generous Spring's breast now fully exposed
Snow spirals dance fawns prancing divorce
Moving away from their lives' true source

Tall Eyes peers a meandering sprite
Floating along she poised erudite
Thousands twilit-bathed singing their song
Pixies then fairies join in the throng
Fireflies last surge merge filling the wold
Blinking fluttering bucolic hold
Waning light crimson in the still Norse
Land borealis seen with remorse
Short summer will end as will sainthood
Swept away time we misunderstood

— David Jenkins, Fergus Falls

The Music Box

In the background
always, the music box is
Playing the rhythms
sustaining my joy.
My heart melody flows
like a brook
Sparkling over the

— Patricia Norton, Minneapolis

HAIKUS (for Eliza)

Bubbles rise with heat
like sounds from piano keys
musically warmed

somewhere a ballet
piano and violin
creating wild swans

— Wayne Albertson, Richfield

Dozing Off

Between the wings of my everyday chair,
a spirit breeze finds me
in the valleys between sleep and wake.
Thoughts move unmoored.
Memories look back from somewhere
and, I float in a Chagall's kind of world.

— Richard Graham, Hastings


tip toed to boldness
broaching sorrows depths unseen
dreaming of light roasts

— Peter Eschweiler, Golden Valley


You are a nightingale
And I am like a snail
You flit around so fast
You left me in the past

You needed just one thing
To wear somebody's ring
But all that I could do
Is take it slow with you

You were older with less time to spare
I was younger and not quite all there
I could use some practice finding love
There are times the hand can't fit the glove

You came from a land that's far away
Spoke an old tongue I never learned to say
If I were someone that you could love
Maybe I'd have been more like a dove

But I am like a snail
And you're a nightingale
You flit around so fast
You left me in the past

If we could have made it work, it would have been so grand
I could have given you passage to this land
And I could have given you a love to last for life
I know you never will be my wife

Fly into the night
Fly into the night

Fly away and leave me here
Don't you fear for I will be alright

You are a nightingale
And I am like a snail
You flit around so fast
You left me in the past"

— Mason Green, Savage


They swooped through the air in tandem formation
One frosty December morning
This mated pair who have nested nearby for years
Seeming oblivious to the freezing temperatures
They spread their magnificent wings to ride the wind
Reveling in the clear blue sky
And the bright sun glistening on new-fallen snow

— Ann Maria Mattila, Rock Springs


She is a spritely thing,
child without mother
adored by her brothers.
She reads her fairy books,
finds enchantment everywhere.

Then cast alone into the world,
brothers gone,
she holds her light within her,
trusting, faithful, until one day she's told
of swans with crowns of gold,
her brothers fair,
who carry her in flight across the sea.

To break the spell that binds them
she searches fearful through the nights
dark places where the nettles grow,
brings them back to spin by day
yards of yarn for shirts of green.
Her fingers sting and swell, dance and sing,
Needles clicking, knit and pearl,
she casts the pearls of her heart into the thread.
She is given gloves for her poor hands
by a king who sees her beauty clear
though she is mute.

And when she would be burned as witch,
eleven shirts she flings over the wings of swans
and they return as handsome princes.
The fire blooms with roses.
This princess, no longer speechless,
will be queen.

Here is a tale for all time.
As love and sorrow, pain and joy
dwell side by side within one heart,
this caring for the other
lifts us up to soar and sing,
to mend, to dance, to heal.

— Kristin Majkrzak, Bemidji

under the blue beech

just off the exit at I-94 & 55
on that small strip of grass between crumbling
sidewalk & the bus stop for the 14-E

under the blue beech (a scruffy little tree)
two mallard ducks nibble at a discarded
sandwich the soggy bread
a white paste in the grass

with his emerald green headdress
all cocky & sure

her strut bulky with eggs

all around them
concrete & steel
butts & bags

the odd
electric hush
of a city in pandemic

under the blue beech
the ducks continue to nibble & peck
it is springtime in the city
& all are so hungry for it.

— Audrey Colasanti, Minneapolis

I hear the rain

I hear the rain on metal roof,
though dry and safe inside;
I marvel at Earth, how she cares for Herself,
Giving Life where I abide.

I hear the rain from inside my tent;
painting colours of yellow and red,
purple and orange, blue and green
Life springing from what seemed dead.

I hear the rain as it begins,
Then grows louder as faster it falls;
its Melody lingers to calm our fears
and gives Faith to Reasons' calls.

I feel rain upon my slicker
As I wander through affable rain;
Walking and splashing in sidewalk puddles,
I recognize how Love does maintain.

I hear the rain on metal roof,
Hear songs of finch and redpoll;
Tender rain brings us Life and Joy
As only Love soothes the soul.

— Webb (David Colwell), St. Paul


ship sailing softly
over azure seas homeward
tender love awaits

— Zoe Hazenson, Hudson


If you listen,
really listen
the earth begins to sing.

You can hear Mother Earth's love
in the wind
as it caresses the flowers to bloom
with delicate breezes.

You can hear Mother Earth's joy
as bees pollinating promenade and
the green buds on trees,
pop-into leaves.

You can hear Mother Earth work
as the pileated woodpecker hammers
a cottonwood tree and the gray squirrel
cracks a black walnut.

You can hear Mother Earth's song
in the rapid heartbeat of a hummingbird
narrowing in to slurp delicious nectar and
in the trill of the loon at the lake.

You can hear Mother Earth cry
when colorful leaves begin to drop
when the rain falls heavy and
thunder keeps you awake.

You can hear Mother Earth sigh
at sunset when lavender hues
streak across the sky and the
moths pirouette in the moonlight.

If you listen,
really listen
the earth begins to sing.

Can you hear it?

— Laura Kozy Lanik, St. Paul

Eliza Aria

Our love begins with a glance,
Smiles, laughter and a flurry,
Of dates, dinner and a dance,
At first we forget every worry.

We marry and start a family,
Life is busy morning til night,
Then you get sick, an anomaly,
And doctors can't make it right.

Tears, hugs and a last goodbye,
Til death part us was our vow,
Life goes on but how can I?
My soulmate is gone now.

— Juliana Schacherer, Litchfield

Needed Rain

First, fragrant droplets splash on dry pavement.
Followed by fat drops falling steadily.
A curtain of heavy rain sweeps city streets clean.
Lightning ionizes the Spring air
while thunder offers discord.
When the curtain parts,
the clover lawn has greened.
Rhubarb has nudged upwards,
thirsty and curious.
Eager to see who is serenading the Earth.

— Barbara Klug, Minneapolis


In her youth, Eliza seldom wore shoes.
She chased fireflies,
Captured minnows with her bare hands,
And stirred up soup from acorns and all that grew.
She leapt across streams on rocks,
Or balanced on a log.
She shrieked as though murdered
When a leech found her calf or toe.
And when she was not moving,
She was reading or singing.
Remembering past the decades,
With a lap quilt and a cat for warmth,
And sturdy, sensible shoes on her feet.
She cannot quite piece together
what happened.

— Shelly Saunders, Columbia Heights

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