Rachmaninoff Speaks of Weather: Etude-Tableaux Op. 33 No. 4 in D Minor [poem] by Susan Gundlach

In the dawn of a quiet autumn day’s pink-orange sunrise,
gentle light flows across the lake, from horizon to shore,
waking birds, lifting spirits, colors thinning as the rising continues,

when suddenly, solid green-black clouds emerge from the west,
blown in a blur, carried by strong winds, swallowing the morning colors whole.
Like confused Valkyries riding in on the wrong cue, to the wrong music,
they rumble their warning of storms, tornadoes, flooding, impending carnage,

but then…the clouds simply fly on in their eastward journey and vanish—
not a drop of rain, not one tree uprooted, not one newspaper scattered about—
clearing the way for what turns out to be only a moment of sunlight,
a bright flash of gold quickly eclipsed by a quieter, duller gray,
a melancholy overcast that covers the sky for the rest of the day,
covering even the coming of night,

like so many hazy endings,
like the after-image of a dream,
like the echo of a minor chord.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: this poem refers to the poem “Sudden Storm” by Nancy Priff, and to Rachmaninoff’s Etude performed by Nicolai Lugansky.]

Image by Suvodeb Banerjee

Susan Gundlach has published articles on topics ranging from family history and puppetry, to the Great Wall of China and the Nile River. Her poems have appeared in Dark Matter, A Midnight Snack, Middle Gray, Lingerpost, *82 Review, and in the walkway of the Evanston Public Library—etched in stone, or cement, actually! Her work can also be seen in The Best of Vine Leaves 2012, and in Cricket magazine, which features some of her children’s poems. Currently, she is working on collaborations with artist and musician colleagues. She lives in Evanston, Illinois, with her family, human and canine.