Posted by: Juliann Budimir | December 30, 2010

Presence (Variations)


A plaintive, steady cry and counterpointe to my
Quiet contemplation hummed a bittersweet lullaby.
Surreal was the sound of my finger round the rim
A shrill alarm but dim, the pealing bell of memory.

The lilting music box bid me comply
Leading me astray to times gone by.

A fern the size of children’s fingers
Pressed upon a windowpane
Hung, as if suspended,
Illuminated by the light
It was a momentous night.

This California edelweiss was ours alone,
A verdant view of childhood far from home.
I saw the leafy edges and the central spine,
Magnified by dewdrops as it lay supine.

The wine had hardly any legs
As I tipped the glass from side to side.
A cup half full is a cup half empty
It is still half a glass whether white or ruby.

I sing a note that glass will never break,
Dreaming of the time when we partake.
In shared companionship we do astound,
When caring souls awakened know no bounds.

The lilting music box bid me comply
Leading me astray to times gone by.

Memories of a summer’s peach
Of small, Italian towns (and looks just out of reach)
I taste the taste of seasons not yet sent
Of half-filled dreams and hope no more implied
Than wanderlust beseeches hopes belied.

I blinked, and you were gone
Where did you go?
What did you see?
Will you bring it back to me?

Reaching back across the grey horizons,
Across the faint folds of memories, he replied,
“Childhood,” with sad regret, and then he sighed.

The lilting leitmotif played my refrain
A reverie I seem to hold in vain. 

That Fate may fill with joy the glass pour moi,
With that endlessly elusive je ne sais quoi.


The lush notes wafting from the radio as I drove offered the first respite from my day; the familiar, romantic tones a soothing balm for the soul.  I was almost certain it was Brahms.  The delicate woodwinds and rich strings of the andante that built with cinematic strength were delightfully evocative.  Then, once the poco allegretto began, it confirmed to me that it was Brahms’ Symphony No. 3.  Hearing this ravishing music on the heels of a certain correspondence reaffirmed my inner strength and resolve to persevere. 

Less than an hour later, I was greeted by my beloved Mom with a special treat that she said would make me smile.  She opened up the refrigerator drawer and handed me a bottle.  With great anticipation, I lifted it out of the slim, brown bag, and smiled brightly at the sight of Schramsberg.  I could feel the lightness begin to return, to twinkle on the horizon like the effervescent glow of sunset.  Soon we would be enjoying this magnificent champagne with dear friends.

Driving home, I chanced upon a glorious harp concerto that I had never heard before.  What an inspirational discovery!  With sweeping strings and the intimacy of the soloist, I found myself guessing who might have composed such a complex and fascinating work.  The delicate and intoxicating notes were all the more luminous to me given that my mother shines on the harp.  Reinhold Glière’s Harp Concerto found its way into my heart amidst the city lights and the long, complicated and sometimes fascinating journey home.  With a grateful sigh, I smiled at the warmth I felt emanate from within, that je ne sais quoi.

Juliann Budimir, 2010.  All rights reserved.


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