Poems by David Erdos
THE OBVIOUS ANGEL (For Peter Gabriel)
It was the voice that stunned first,
Even before the young man’s theatrics;
Before the sharp appeal and invention,
The lyrical flush, the songs joined.
Then the small majesty of his name,
As if properly graced by the Angels;
Someone otherworldly who was still
Hustling gigs with old coins.
Then the advance, with the pilgrim’s
Descent beneath Broadway,
The examination imagined across
An existential underworld,
Only to emerge in new light, a Rael to the real,
No longer a moribund Burgermeister
With the waters of Bath there to ease him
And a flag like song soon unfurled.
Solsbury Hill fills all hearts, as it must have his
In the writing, setting out those first journeys
Across the possible worlds art provides.
Gabriel is an ambassador for the soul
Through the music he makes and his singing,
Through his humanitarian efforts and his advances
In terms of the mind and machine. This son of an inventor
Inspects the tenuous world we’ve created
In order to find adaptations of man’s fragile
Hold on the dream. We call for new music,
More wings but the soaring truth quickly settles:
He is the music. As with each new thought
PHILLING IN (Phil Collins at Hyde Park, 2017)
Now sat, sans drums, Collins’ look appeared ghostly,
As his voice scaled old glories, his former rhythmic drive
Remained parked. There was some small tragedy here
Along with the warmth of return for those people
Who once prized a musician whose versatile reach
Scorched all charts. There was a sense of dignity too
In the exile he’d adopted; clearing the field
He’d grassed over in the biblical day and solo.
As he and others move on into age in which
Rock music has set its own standard, the slow shade
And pale shimmer abbreviates a halo.
But Not dead yet, as he writes. And so, further life
Is wished to him; framed by the hope of new strikes
To be fashioned by the still spectacular cries of the heart.
THE NEW RIVER (For Tony Banks)
After defining the God granted sound,
Man’s compromise seemed to shun him.
This in itself proved a lesson that no set education
Can teach; dilute the river somehow
And the surrounding banks will grow weathered,
Until urgent new waters rearrange themselves
The classically themed lyrics he wrote
Have now fused with his music, and the expanse
Of his talent sets landscape, drawing the cloud
Through the chord into view.
The countdown has begun;
From Seven to Five, to one movement,
Which possibly marks a concerto that will surely
Rhapsodise earthbound tune.
To Six, from Mad Man Moon cloaked by Redwing,
Tony Banks is now granting the music’s surround
A new truth. The expert playing of hands
Brings the heart into focus,
As what was song turns symphonic
And the standards of old become new.
AT THE HEART OF IT (For Mike Rutherford)
Responsible at the start for the emergent riffs many treasured,
From Mama’s offbeat drum box to Follow You Follow me’s pulse
And words, Rutherford’s special way is to humanise others’ magic,
Bass notes affirming the sources of song most prefer.
Singing through surrogates he peoples each album,
The craftsman ever present but never with a slick
Show of hands. Instead is the ease with which to convey
Sweet intention. In what he plays nothing’s sour,
With each sensation and taste calmly planned.
As Collins lead from the back so Rutherford graced
The scant shadow to realign Hackett’s beauty
In a thoroughly popular light. That’s all one can do
As the popular song scales new platforms
And a group braced by friendship is carefully freed
By time’s flight.
THE LONG ECHO (For Anthony Phillips)
Never forgotten or lost the sound world serves a fresh purpose;
To restore and remind us that a musician’s skill is sublime.
Drawing libraries made of song Anthony Phillips’ collections
Are worlds we encounter through the abeyance of hearts and closed eyes.
Strangely surreal English gardens undulate, graced by a ghost in the sunlight;
Disturbances and distortions are instantly eased by soft stars.
It is only in the string’s resonance and the struck key’s long echo
That a new music happens and his calls to the muse becomes ours.
And yet his atmosphere is his own. Unique, it feels classic,
As the voice in his playing recolours the expectant path
Others tread. Whether on guitar or synth, twelve string or piano
His view from the outside is to reorder rock’s blues to rose red.
Phillips’ music enchants. His spells and evocations are legion.
In the summered glaze his light dazzles
Before it disappears in dream haze.
IN PRAISE OF THE CURATOR (For Steve Hackett)
On a parallel path with Fripp, there is nothing flip
To Steve Hackett; his take on the progressions in music
Stems from a joining of all boundaries. As Crimson
Thrakked hard, Steve’s colours softened, forming a pool
Of new mirrors, reflecting each new style adopted
Through the sound gifts of love in each song.
This has come anew to him from Jo, his wife
And life partner, her words broadened Hackett
Whose reach was of course wide before.
The exotic sound in his style has infiltrated each genre,
Conquering borders and time signing futures
To send each song skyward, freed from Rock’s
Steady four to the floor. Recently each new work
Has honoured his founding source for expansion;
Those tales torn from new fires that ignited the form
And the stage. He has been counting out time
With an entirely new set of numbers, mixing the tongues
With song kisses that in being bestowed grace each age.
With each new effort he bows to those former standards
That brought his work into being and in standing proud
He restores the sophistications of old, replaying the songs
Long untested; an act of curation in which the museum
Re-opens showcasing so many portals
Beyond those wonderous thirty two chamber doors.
Hackett stands at the gates. There is paradise in his playing.
His skills and commitment still shining,
As the love formed by hands soon implores.
David Erdos 23rd March 2018
Illustration Nick Victor