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Posts Tagged ‘music’

That Song

I want to slip into the song

you sang, the one with verse

about loss. I want to hang

on its notes as if they were branches

I could swing from, want to climb

through its chorus, want to meet it

in its rests, want to offer it tea.

I want to ask the guitar

about your fingers, about

how they knew where

to find the melody. And how?

I want to speak with the loss itself,

want to ask it if it’s sure its lost,

want to offer it a map made of apples

and wings and moon.

I want to hear the silence after

the song, and then beg it, beg it,

to keep singing.

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Perhaps we stumbled

on the words, perhaps

we forgot a note,

forgot a bridge,

bumbled our entrances,

fumbled our parts,

but we sang, oh yes,

we sang into the low golden light

of summer, sang

because joy, because

harmony, sang because

lonely, because fear,

sang because, tears

spilling down our cheeks,

we could sing, oh friends,

before we said goodbye,

we could sing.

 

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All day the world improvises

a song for me—song of bickering robins

and whispering grass, bright chime

of a text and gravel trucks that grumble

on the highway as they pass.

 

The song I would sing for you, let it be

as spontaneous as the chattering

of the cat watching hummingbirds,

as sharp as the flap of the flag in the wind.

Let me not sing the same song I’ve sung before.

 

This is the time to sing it new, to sing

the song we didn’t know we were brave enough

to sing. This is the time to sing

the most honest song, thorn song,

green song, yelp of relentless shine.

 

This is the time to sing as if our lives

depend on it, sing the song

that comes out of attending.

Song of pushing through dirt.

Song we don’t know yet.

 

 

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Anthem

 

 

 

Today’s anthem is not

my chorus of curses

when the cat knocked

the glass of sauvignon blanc

into my open laptop.

It’s not the clashing swords

in the movie we watched

nor the sobbing

that shook me this morning

when I tried to speak of loss.

The anthem is not

the click of the door

nor the snap of the branch

beneath the Stellar’s jay

nor the soundless slide

of the moon.

Today’s anthem was the hum

I know you would have made

if you’d held me while I wept,

the waves of our breath

inviting us to wade

deeper in.

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            with gratitude for Dennis McNeil

Every night now as I make dinner in Colorado,

I listen to a tenor sing live from his back porch

in California near the coast.

While I chop onions and chard

and sip on sauvignon blanc,

he belts tunes from Oklahoma

and Phantom of the Opera,

patriotic songs and Frank Sinatra,

and I sing along, my small soprano lifted

by his generous voice that baptizes the room.

This is the world I believe in—

a world ringing with beauty.

A world where people share their gifts

with strangers, knowing our lives

depend on this.

Between songs, he toasts us with gin,

and smiles. I return his toast with wine.

This is the way we carry each other

through difficulties, one song at a time.

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Please pretty darlin’, do not cry.

            —Paul McCartney, “Golden Slumbers” adapted from Thomas Dekkers’ “Cradle Song”

 

 

And if the candle noticed

that I played the song six times,

it didn’t say anything.

 

And if the pan were aware

that I struggled to find a harmony,

it kept the failure to itself.

 

And if the kitchen noticed

that I continued to sing the song

long after the recording was done, well—

 

The onion did its best

to mask any tears

that no one was there to see.

 

And if once there was a way

to get back homeward, well,

perhaps, perhaps it will appear again.

 

 

 

*To listen, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbcvf8a5BwM

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Nada

 

written at the Carmelite Monastery in Crestone, CO

 

 

It holds everything, silence,

offers itself as a blank staff

on which every song it written—

the tiny hymn of insect wings,

the baritone of the jet as it flies

from one measure of sky to the next,

the dry requiem of rustling grass,

the emphatic chorus of crow.

 

How generous, silence,

am I willing to know it?

How it includes even the cough,

the belch, retching, the wailing,

the snarl, the scream, the shatter,

and scores these in concert with the hum,

the lush purr, the whisper of the lover,

the ecstatic tremulo of sigh.

 

There is no sound it refuses to hold.

Its patience is infinite.

So when we, like weary pilgrims,

tired of hearing the percussion

of our own footsteps, arrive at its doors,

silence receives us, welcomes us home.

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Remedy

 

 

 

Not tea, not pills,

not herbs, not tinctures,

not creams, not salts,

not drops, not injections—

what the heart needs

tonight is a song

so true that its cells rhyme

themselves with the beat.

Tonight, the only medicine

this tired heart needs

is to listen.

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One Fermata

 

the music will last

forever, but who will be

here to dance to it?

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One Recipe

 

 

 

making my mother’s cookies

with my mother—

the same recipe, sweeter

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