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To Hold the Notes

There was a time
when the notes slept, hibernating,

breathing thumbed parchment,
quiet as cathedrals locked up for the night
while around parish hearths
stout voices sang their pious words


Then came wax cylinders
wound tightly as bobbins
and squashy shellac blobs
that pressed out and dried the notes to brittle patties
where winding roads and bumpy paths
guide scratchy thorns along their quavering circuits


Scant revolutions later notes hiss over speeding decks
in and out of skimpy see-through dresses
while jockeys whirl them back and forth
like dolls at a barnyard square dance
and singles stand around waiting to join the jig


Still fading, the notes, collapsing further
sought refuge in wires, shiny ribbons, skin thin wafers
that held hieroglyphics of their shrinking glory
while packets of ones and zeros
carried them from ear to busy ear


Amidst this impersonal mechanical going on
we set our feet upon the northern road
that leads between the towering peaks and rushing streams
where bird song, rosy apples, fields of cyclamen
and shady cypresses walked beside us down the peaceful ways


And in the valley, beneath the spreading oaks
a classroom beckoned, just a wooden shack
but from its open windows came forth such a blessed sound
that we, compelled by its beauty approached

There seated on simple wooden chairs four youngsters sat
at cello, viola and two violins
and as we watched them play and pause
and play again and annotate and then again
our hearts began to sing with them
and as we smiled and listened on
we knew the notes had found their home

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© Johnmichael Simon



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