Pioggia povera e preziosa

Erica Dorf would have turned 97 today.  She worked for decades as the artists' booking agent for Avery Fisher Hall.  For a few years in the 1950s, she served as personal secretary to Gypsy Rose Lee.  Erica was also responsible for producing the English subtitles on many of the classic Italian films of the mid-20th century.

                                    Erica Tagliabue Dorf, 1918-2007

Rain falling on your birthday, Erica;
after an August drought
these gray skies float
down water lifelines, pioggia

povera e preziosa.
Your green & copper
wooden cabinet
like something out of old Ferrara

still stands guard quietly
in the dining room;
out of the city’s boom
& boffo, to this rustic hideaway.

Memory is mother of the arts.
You were a hidden matrix
deep in that beehive-vortex
(10 W. 66th) where music starts

up from the frescoed scene –
that Lincoln Center fount
of gaiety in sound, that
plummet of gravity & Balanchine;

ferrying Fellini to his grand entrance
or steering Isaac Stern
toward the stage, you were
the dancing master’s high romance –

sparkling eye of the champagne
della vita. In your wide
Gypsy glass, hide
me now, Rose – the globe’s your reign.


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