Posts Tagged ‘musical’

There comes a day when a woman knows
she’s more Mother Superior than Maria—
and though she spent decades dreaming
of spinning on stage singing The hills are alive,
she now knows she’s more likely
to be cast standing in a habit, clutching a rosary,
singing Climb every mountain.
How many dreams pass us
before we realize they’ve gone?
Already I know I will never climb Everest,
will not be an Olympic Nordic skier,
will not research the cure for AIDS.
Every day I am less the woman I dreamt I would be
and more the woman I am—
which is, apparently, a woman who sits in the balcony
to see “The Sound of Music” and drives home happy,
still singing about how her heart
wants to beat like the wings of the birds that rise
from the lake to the trees.
A woman who is learning how,
now that her dreams have faded,
she can be more present than ever.

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And again tonight, despite injustice and hatred,

Jean Valjean learns to love. And again tonight,

in the face of fear and prejudice, he finds kindness.

And again tonight, I weep as he nears his death.

I couldn’t say for whom I am weeping—for him,

for the girl he adopted, for the mother who died,

for the empty chairs, for the whole cast

who remind me too much of the world we live in.

For myself, of course, and my longing to do

what is right. But more than anything, I weep

with the memory of watching this very same scene

thirty years ago, sitting beside my brother,

both of us baptized in tears as Fontine and Eponine

sing behind Valjean, reminding him it is no small miracle

to love someone. I couldn’t have known then

how this would be the memory I’d return to again

and again when I think of my brother. There we are,

young and full of competing ideals, holding each other,

laughing through our crying, ready to meet the world

and each other tear-stained and open to news of grace.


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It starts in the shower at the Hot Springs Pool.
I am singing about the water, how good it feels,
so warm on my shoulders. I am aware there
are other people bathing in nearby stalls,
so I sing it on my breath, a little embarrassed,
but by the time I flounce into the parking lot,
I am singing in full voice to my children to please,
get in the car now, it’s time for lunch. I sashay to avoid
the mud puddles, and unlock the car doors
with a minor flourish of my hand. The car, it hums
a drone for the rest of the days characters
to harmonize against, and so, it seems, the mountains do.
They are singing in the key of February, which is a white,
steep chorus I usually do not hear over the sound
of the radio. But today, it is clear and rousing, and the snow
joins in on the long ride home. Even my son points out
how loud the flakes are as they sing against the panes. At dinner,
I chant to my girl, would you like some pears,
and the offer echoes off the roofbeams. She affirms
with an arpeggio of giggles and so I waltz to the pantry
where the pears croon a late summer sweetness right
out of the jar and onto her plate. It is, perhaps, always
this way, I think, each thing singing its singular song,
and every step a step in the dance in which we all meet
and separate and meet again, turn away and meet again,
and I can’t help but wonder what keeps us
from in every moment wildly clapping, ovation after
ovation, our hands fierce and staccato with praise.

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