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Robin McCorquodale

Andres Segovia’s Concert at Jones Hall


Mr. Segovia draws his fingers over the strings,

Plucks one and then, the other:

“Arrulladora, Torre Bermeja, Sevilla.”

The audience.

At intermission, the ladies in twill suits and dainty hats,

Trip toward the alabaster cups for refreshments. A moon.

            Eight cups and this moon.

Girls swing their thin arms. All of them are about eighteen.

They are a delight here.

Tunes with names come flowing out at us.

The audience.

We clap our hands raw,

Stamp our foot and feet and legs, raw.

Scream and cry.


Tear; if you will too, we rave and tear.

Impassioned tears, love and, “I see God in this.”


“O, I will.”


Maestro Segovia, we have asked the stars to wink more in your honor—

If this was, and it is not, the fifteenth century,

We would ask the lutes to begin all over again for you.

We would ask the centuries to skip from Luys Milan, circa 1535,

To Mr. J. S. Bach (1685–1750),

Then skip to Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, La Mandragola.

Andres Segovia, we have asked the stars, and M. Castelnuovo-Tedesco, born in 1895,

To do more things in your honor.



Maestro, sit there calmly, my love;

On that low, leather stool, sit there.

It is all you have of a Steinway;

All you will ever have of it.


Out of a magic sack,

A golden woven pouch,

You draw a gleaming brown guitar.

You thump on its body, and

There is thunderous applause.

The animals hear it.

Raccoon brothers up from the bayou hear it.

A mouse in the costume box hears.

The animals know.

I am one of them and I know.

The usher is but a boy, and I think he knows.

This is Jones Hall.


Andres Segovia, tune those strings.


Radiant angels of the entablatures like what you say,

Or what you interpret of what Señor Tedesco and Señor Albeniz say:

“One June, biting Spanish morning,

The bull, happy to be in a sunny yard, paws the sand.”

Well, Maestro Segovia, we hear you.

We could never envy you to the point of hate. No.

Though, certainly, you make no mistakes.

Rest easy, then, on your stool,

All you have of a Steinway,

All you will ever have of it.

Let that hollow arrangement of thin wood,

Guitar, all you will ever have,

Peculiar resonating box,

Not violin,

Not viola de gamba,

Hardly a lute,

let it rest beloved, on your thighs,

Covered as you are with a tuxedo, soft, cashmere and black,

Rest beloved,

Or hear our applause.

The heart leaps,

Faith; the whirlpool spins.


Carlos Fuentes is your pen name, but Andres

Segovia is your real name.

You walk home.

Heavily, you cross the stage.

In the wings, the fluttering, whispering, “Well done.”

A strong, young arm, your valet,

Relieves you of your guitar.

You go out again, enjoying the adulation,

Stamping of feet, raw,

Roaring, wings beating in the wings,

The leaping of hearts,

Eight moons, one cup; alabaster, all of it,

Translucent and not transparent.


Angel, not actress, probably muse,

Talk to me, to us.

Support an aged, music child,

Until Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco can get to the stage wings,

Until the good spook and shadow of Castelnuovo-Tedesco can get there; at least,

Until the dependable escutcheon of Tedesco can succor or save (get there).

The bull.

He is from Andalusia, not Attica;

Jaén, not Segovia, and not Valladolid.

Admirers are in this audience.

Neither ring, blood nor sand here.

This is a stage and not an arena. No.

A concert and not a fight!

Magic sack, not flask,

Gleaming, brown.

Guitar, you are brown.


Señor Segovia, I don’t much believe in apotheosis,

But right now, I think that I see you on a cloud,

Where, in every other concert of the year,

I have seen only an orchestra pit.

If you’ll please to do another song,

I think that the angels on the architraves will croon you upward,

And the cherubs on the friezes will croon you upward,

And the seraph on the cornice wall will croon or sing to you and to us.

What can a seraph really do? Well,

This is Jones Hall, and

“The symphony ladies have done miracles.”



St. Pelagia’s favorite child,

Francisco Tarega’s good friend,

Sit there calmly, my love—

From that low, leather stool, don’t think of moving.

From now on, Maestro Segovia,

Perhaps already glorified,

Neither friar, nor brother, but

Guitarist. Sit there.

An orange flame about the size of a thimble (not timbrel, Maestro)

Is hovering above your head

And above the frets of your guitar.

Maestro, all you have to do is sit there.



One last thing—

You are the first in your field since Tarega.

This morning,

16 February 1979, 9 o’clock,

Above the cherry laurel and the pansy’s one yellow bloom,

There was, in your honor,

An eclipse of the sun which lasted about three minutes.

Though the sky was not completely altered,

There were unmistakable changes in the light.

Andres Segovia, We Want to Show You Our Henry Moore

Andres Segovia,

we want to show you our Henry Moore.

Mr. Moore told us where to place it and then he said:

“On the thirty-first of October,

in the year, one thousand nine hundred and seventy nine,

on the night that Houston commemorates the return of all souls

with a Moonlight Bicycle Ramble,

my sculpture will be here placed.”


I replied,

“Mr. Moore, on the thirty-first

the faithful will fall onto bronze

believers will clasp hands, shake hands and give the holy kiss,

steaming up the metal arches.

Cyclists will make twenty miles look like two or one,

but I shall look where you have adjusted the curve

and shall begin to worship.”



Maestro Segovia,

Houston is my home and Valladolid is yours,

but would you play something British?

On this knoll, Allen Parkway, beside Buffalo Bayou’s clay shores,

we have placed “Spindle Piece.” Play:

            Thomas Tallis

            Benjamin Britten

            Frederick Handel

            Ralph Vaughan Williams

            for Henry Moore.


These are the things that really happened;

the vacant clouds of summer.

You told me, “I like my melons in August; I like my tomatoes vine-ripened;

tangerines, sweet, must be picked from the trees.”

Then you stepped on my rows.

I welcomed you.

I called you the fox. (You smiled like the dog.)

I watered the dahlias and the cyclamen;

Dampened us too with affection and a little juice.

Then you stepped on my perfectly aligned furrows.

This is my complaint:

You gave me your hands, wet as they were in blackberries pulled off to the bowl.

You stained my blouse and spoiled dear-image.

(I welcomed you.)

This is my complaint:

Pretending to tie my sash, you untied my sash.

When you smiled like the dog, I couldn’t get mad.

Homecoming I

to Malcolm

Breaking up the playpen, we swam the bayous;

Injected with needles,

Head and shoulders with yaupon, tender and just walking,

We were part of an important army of pines!


Under your arm, you squeezed stubs of air tickets and squeezed new air tickets.

Weren’t we born here to leave cities?

Forget “l’oeil de boeuf” and “guirlandes de fleurs”.


I pass judgment like the hare passes the holes in the corn cobs,

And the field mouse passes the pile of beer cans,

And the otter passes—although we haven’t got one, and I haven’t seen one;

Neither, honey, have we got the beaver from Gascony nor the swan from


Heavy sighs are in unison with bayberry blowing.

Whimpering is characteristic of many of our birds.

Out of season, the stag enters many clearings.


Put down your Remington 500, place it across my knees.

Come with me to the Big Thicket.

Usually, we let the copperhead go.

We believe that he bites only when threatened,

            the unbooted foot, or

            the putrid hand.

Symbol: I offer you my fresh hand as a symbol;

Pious now, I ask you to come with me into East Texas.

Come with me to the Big Thicket.


The rumor of the pines is not the sound of the Autoroute of the West.

“But I hear the rumor in the pines.”

“You are hearing the Dallas Highway.”

“Highway 45?”


“Is this the Partia Mia?”



We fall kissing the needles,

Flat on the needles,

Kissing the needles, the pines;

Embracing the needles, we kiss the needles—

We kiss the ones that are nearest to us and the ones that are farthest from us.

We can’t speak.

“What did you say?”

“This is homecoming.”

Rose II

Rose, you make yourself

known between poplar trees. You

support light changing to dark; dark

changing to river and sloping lawn.

Rose, you change to fat,

lift your hands from Night’s backbone,

go off quickly,

remembering who you are, and who he is.


Rose, you ease yourself through the Chisos Mountains;

rising, uprising, breathing in and out:

last summer, last year and 1958,

where the Rio Grande and the Pecos meet,

you pulled yourself to the bank,

told me how it was with

one elbow on the air mattress

and half my chin in the flat of an evening.



Even the daisies were tropical in 1944

And the sun-plant’s open curtain,

Fanned loosely the palm tree, blue, by the cloud’s blue door to the sea,

Forcing the tassels back and fastening them to a two-spoked ceiling fan.

It happened on Drexel and Tuam,

Two great streets of Houston.

The aviators broke the records,

Pushed flakes of Glenn Miller into howls of alto saxophone,

Then withdrew with their girls to the watch towers for the ghostly conning towers.

The next day, they went on to decorate the dance floors on Courtland Place,

And the art galleries on Audubon Place.

The hero, young Royce was there,

Standing in front of, “Blue Cloud and Sunset”.

I was there in a robe of ticking and feathers,

Just one of the peacocks racing across the lawn,

Beauty without eyelids,

Who finally rested her head on the strings of this one man’s bathing suit.




            hug me here

            lean on my shoulder

            come to my house

It’s the Fourth of July

From my lawn on Shadow Lawn, you can watch the fireworks which are going off under Sam Houston’s horse;

With this rifle and this telescopic lens, you can shoot out the streetlights on Main and on Fannin.

Royce, I think the world of you, always have.

I would whisper this even in the mouthpiece of a public telephone:

Weren’t you the one with the gun?

Yesterday, I saw you crying,

Your head was on the bar in a bar on the corner of Crawford Street and Avenue C;

Weren’t you the one with the gun on the shores of Tripoli?

** ##

My address is 36 Shadow Lawn.

** ##

From my lawn on Shadow Lawn

** ##

Under the acacia trees.

The Promise

Clover created waves for cattle to stand in.


The clover for the girl to walk in


      on a lake, like a lake

         created more swells for that girl and grackles and crows

            to fly through and disappear in;

               for sandals to sink into,

                  one bee now a dozen dive into blossoms,

                     like seagulls diving into surf

                        come out with fish.


The clover backed off in

surges of green,

a pond to prance into on high-heeled sandals

for these shoes to sink

for bees to accumulate and buzz,

sunshine, low-flying clouds, hard as rocks

the clover fell sideways heavy on its 4th leaf,

therefore, most remarkable of plants

undulating green for straw birds and pipers,

cattle to drown in, to melt under hoofs

with insects to shout in their

humdrumming ears; shining cows

the girl strokes

makes much over, touches and they

ring their bells;

for sandals to hurry past,

to sink into green when the man

held the barbed-wire fence far enough apart,

caught his shirt, cursed, smiled, walked into clover waves toward



Billows in clover,

   floating on it

      swelling in green: to

         separate two lines of barbed wire

            incorporate bees in the picture

               and the girl’s face (she smiles)

               in exposure to wind and sun

                  not five yards away; while the

                     clover backs off:

                        sinks, rises,

                           into blushing

                              when the man as a man


her hand

flowers are stars


It is the

wind which

rocks the clover;


slips on the ring

over her finger, ripples

the green wind in clover

bees are a voice of golden families;

the sky, yes blue, another sea:

clouds swell, billow;

when the man lifted the barbed-wire

put one foot on the barbed wire, waded out to the girl in green;

rippling for boots to plunge into,

clover, his knee,

fell over the fourth leaf, the third

so on one knee; his third and fourth wish, a clover:

the day of exquisite luck, the green

he handed her a four-leaf one

the ring and his promise.

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