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The Climax by Christopher Reid

August 29, 2012

It’s a lovely idea, that a man could recognise the rhythm of an individual woman’s orgasms, but hardly testable. Claims of expertise would open up all sorts of other difficulties. Let’s leave it to the poet. This one was published in The Spectator, 19 May 2012.

The Climax

Not until the last bars of the symphony
did the critic get the point. It was the point
of a knife. For twenty minute he had been preparing
the usual put-downs, ironies, and mockeries.
(The composer knew them well.)
Then something began to swell
in the orchestra. Little touches at first:
muted trombones, increasingly urgent,
throaty clarinets, harmonic frissons from the upper strings
The composer, at the rostrum, coaxed the musicians on
with gestures like caresses, the sound inexorably building.
By the time the tympani started to pound
against brass gasps and woodwind yelps –
a miracle of orchestration – the critic was in no doubt:
The bastard had been screwing his wife!

By Christopher Reid

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