{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Ernest Hilbert

is the author of Sixty Sonnets (2009) and the chapbook Aim Your Arrows at the Sun.

His poems have appeared in The New Republic, Yale Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and Parnassus, among others.

He was the poetry editor of Random House’s magazine Bold Type (1998-2003) and, more recently, of the Contemporary Poetry Review (2005-2010).

—Back to CSM Contents/Issue Links—

Leningrad Seventh Symphony, Shostakovich

At last the stink of summer’s siege sank away,
As mercury slid, vivid as new blood,
To the end of the thermometer’s lance.
Our composer exhausts all the day
On the conservatory roof, above mud
And tanks, listening as the slow advance
Of armies builds in time to a violent chord.
Horns blast open the city’s snowy gate.
We boil horses and harness girls to tow
Corpses. The black boxes strung along wires
Urge us to their speaker’s relentless wish.
Strings shriek and strafe. Tympani detonate.
The metronome swings dreamily, a sword
On the frozen plaza of piano,
Chandeliers shimmering like huge bonfires
In the evening of its iron polish.


[Originally published in Asheville Poetry Review.]