‘First the Music and then the Words’ by Jeremy Wikeley

First the Music and then the Words
Listening to Strauss’s ‘Capriccio’

I dreamt I was decked in dark furs and running
down the colonnades of a deserted town,
one time the capital of a great empire, now
in flames. I smashed statues, slashed tapestries
and stripped the gold. I pissed in the silverware
and forced it down the wine-taster’s throat
while my brothers roamed the streets in packs,
broke into the homes of chamber musicians,
plucked the violas from their clammy hands,
tore the strings off with their teeth, broke their backs
across their knees and laughed, tunelessly.
 
(first published in the Pembroke Gazette, 2015)
 
 
Jeremy Wikeley used to be a postgraduate historian in Cambridge. He currently works and lives in London. His poem Little Things won The Interpreter’s House competition (2016). He tweets, rarely, @jbwikeley.