The strings were tuned to perfection
And she played it equally, with passion
And zest, carried me away. The hall
Was no longer important. The tune
Kept drawing me inside, each note
Another invitation bespoke;
The tones were ravishing. Mellow
Then violent, then hopeful and love
Then hate, and worship, dedication
And some other needless nouns.
When she stopped, I cried.
At the sheer injustice of it all.
At the beauty of it all,
The incorrigible reality of it all.
And felt. Stung in all the right places.
And the wrong ones too.
Then she started again,
And I was one again. One with the melody
The maiden of harmony caressing each muscle
And caring for their peacefulness.
And soothing my heart to all but a stop.
A mere function now, and nothing more.
The only reality was in my ears.
The only truth. ‘Twas all I could hear.
And her body swung in time,
Feeling, as mine, what needed to be felt
In that moment, that note, that insistent subtle touch
Of bow on string. And heart on heart.
Not a mere function now, but something more.
And then she had to stop again.
Overwhelmed I brought palm to palm
Substituting it for a shout for help.
I can’t live without you, can’t you see?
You have to go on. Clap. Clap.
She bowed, and left the stage.
I clapped harder. Clap. Clap. Clap.
She needed to come back I knew,
But did she? The question haunted me for a lifetime.
When she returned she was all that mattered.
And we were one. Heart, body, mind, ears, fingers.
The blacks and whites raised her even higher,
Her wooden instrument sang its own glory
While the chords chanted along in merriment.
And I drank each vowel and word.
Each sentence of blossoming verse.
But she never sang, nor uttered anything at all.
I heard what she said though, clearly, discreetly.
And finally, in a lower tone, a completion came
A final eternal conclusion to the diatribe.
She moved her arm once more,
Swaying slowly with the sound
And let herself drown in its serenity
Finally understanding what she had told me.
Finally realizing her vulnerability.
She smiled, and I frowned.
Why wasn’t she afraid? She showed herself to me
Yet she smiled in my face as if I’d always known.
Puzzled I put palm to palm. Clap. Clap.
Then I stopped, unable to bear its crudeness
In her presence. And I smiled at her, in gratitude.
And awe. Clap. Clap. Clap.