SHUBERT AT HARBORVIEW–A PSALM

Praise be to the two young women walking onto the stage, for they are lovely and slim
as herons in their flowing blue skirts.
Praise be to the Slavic cheekbones of the violinist and the ice-blue eyes of the pianist;
they flash fire as she bends to the runs of the Scherzo.

Praise be to the hands: the articulation of the fingers, the opposable thumbs, the joints
of the wrists; their beauty is as the dance of the bees.
The violinist’s whole body dances with each stroke of her bow; praise be
that her body is unable
to resist the music.
The pianist’s feet caper over the pedals; praise be the fifteen bones in the foot, the
wondrous architecture of the ankle.

Give thanks for the brightly lit hall, the comfortable seats,
for the two American flags with their gilt tassels that stand at attention
beside the stage.
Give thanks for the old, who sit in rows to hear the music,
for their hands and bodies and feet remember music;
they float, at rest in the lilt and sway, as seabirds on the swell.

Behold: a flock of walkers and wheelchairs are waiting to fly up in a cloud,
like to a host of birds over a wheat-field at evening.
Behold: the hearing-aids and glasses, orthotics, braces and canes lift up their heads
like a herd of colts let out to pasture.

Yea, out of freezing nights in the belly of caves,
out of birth and dying and a need beyond speech
came that ancient two-note flute carved from the bone of a mastodon.
Came music. And out of a young man on fire with music,
tramping through the cold slush of Vienna streets to his cold room;
from his pen, his ink, his lamp, and the scraps of cheap used paper
comes this intricate, irrepressible waterfall of sound.

O give thanks for a mind that could imagine such beautiful noises,
give thanks that these noises have been preserved.
O give thanks that even now they can be loosed from their sleep
to fill up this air with delight.
Alleluia!