The Symphonies of Heaven

Moonlight pools in the furrowed fields. 

Each grain-topped stalk reaches up

To caress the dark sky’s face.

A hush has fallen over our common earth,

But the heavens are alive with song.

The stars pour forth melodies, harmonies,

Endless arias, spiraling refrains.

Their silver voices sing clear in the night.

Who but God has ears to listen?

Who but God and his legions of angels?

If we could hear but one chord of that song,

We would never again doubt the beauty of existence

Or the perfection of eternity to come,

Wrapped in the symphonies of heaven. 

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Adjacent

The walls of my apartment are thin.

Of course they are–it’s an apartment.

I hear muffled laughter, the amateur plucking

of an acoustic guitar.

How strange to hear strangers’ lives

swell around me

as I sit silent in my soft-lit room.

Our separate lives, shoved close,

adjacent but never intersecting.

NPM: Siren Song– Denouement

I am a siren still

And I sing the only song I know

Tenuously suspended

in a liminal space

Part woman, part bird

Flighty, I abhor a cage

And my sharp eye

and flitting bird-heart

Fear its confinement

But perhaps I have shed

A few of these feathers

and become more wholly

a person, not a fable

I sing and hope

for one who knows the perils

and dares anyway

to approach my jagged coastline

To take my hand, taloned as it is

and bear my flaws

Lead me not to a cage,

but to a horizon

And hear me, truly

hear me

Because I sing the only song I know:

My own.

 

NPM: Swan-Song

They say a swan’s last song
The one it sings right before it dies
Is the sweetest of its life.
It’s the finality of it,
The fragility
That makes it beautiful.

From the moment we’re born
Gasping and flailing
We start dying,
Each second leading us onward
Toward our last breath.
Our entire lives are dying melodies,
Achingly sweet because they are ending
Even as they begin.

Lay your head against my chest
And hear my heart’s fluttering percussion.
The rise and fall of air in my lungs.
This moment
And all my successive moments
Bound together as a symphony.
This is my swan-song.

NPM: The Stringless Violin

The streets of Vienna are gilded with frost
as a gentleman moves through the night.
At first it would seem that the man is quite lost
till a door cracks and spills out some light.

The man whirls around and laughs loudly and clear
then hurries toward the threshold.
He embraces a woman with thick raven hair
who bids him come in from the cold.

The man shakes the snow from his coat and then turns
to find the hearth merrily blazing.
The woman is bustling around the small room
and he can’t keep from furtively gazing.

Her hair is as dark as the day they first met.
Her lips are the color of wine.
Her eyes dance and laugh when they rise to meet his,
and her smile just for him is divine.

Though his fondness and longing seem so evident,
his manner becomes more reserved.
For their history’s filled with unspoken desires,
and through silence their friendship’s preserved.

The woman has noticed his sobering mood,
and with a sad smile she collects
the item he came for, which she had procured,
though it’s nothing like what he expects.

A case lined with velvet, with clasps made of gold
opens to reveal a violin.
Its wood simply glows, but its shortcoming shows
for there’s nothing where strings should have been.

The man looks confused, though the instrument’s fine,
he had thought it would be more arcane.
But the lady still smiles and brushes the neck
of a violin far from mundane.

At her feather-light touch a sonorous note
rings out with a tremor so sweet
and the room fills with music so achingly pure
the enchantment it weaves is complete.

The man’s eyes fill with tears as the notes harmonize
for the music is tender and sad.
It sings of a love unrequited for years,
and a future that cannot be had.

He buries his face in his hands as he sighs,
then feels a light touch on his wrist.
“This song is ours,” the woman reveals,
“It’s the story of all that we’ve missed.”

He kisses her palm, holds it tight to his cheek,
then rises and closes the case.
He moves to the door, turns the knob and looks back
for one final glance at her face.

And as their eyes meet, an affection untempered
passes between, multiplied.
And still to this day, the violin plays
the theme of a love that never died.

NPM: Off Rue de la Reine

In a tiny antique shop

Off Rue de la Reine

Which is owned by Monsieur Cotillier

You can find quite a few

Implausible items

and things that just shouldn’t be there

 

A violin without strings

That regardless still sings

the most beautiful notes to be heard

A cage made of ivory

Cunningly wrought

that houses a live clockwork bird

 

A watch lacking hands

that does not tell the time

But tells cryptic secrets instead

And on every hour

it whispers the future

to those willing to hear what is said

 

In the back of the shop

Is a red painted door

that leads to a courtyard of white

At its center, a fountain

That flows after dark

With a liquid resembling starlight

 

Though Monsieur Cotillier

is the strangest of all

In a wonderful, magical way

For he welcomes each patron

as if they were kin

asking if they have somewhere to stay

 

And the charming old man

talks with pride of his shop

and the travels he takes to acquire

The remarkable marvels

His collection contains

And remembers in detail each buyer

 

If a thing strikes your fancy

Monsieur Cotillier

will always implore you to buy

For he knows that a road

May lead on far and fast

And you may not get a second try

 

When your browsing is done

And you’re ready to leave

A sad gleam comes into his eye

And he wishes you well

Clasps hands warmly with you

And murmurs, “Adieu, friend. Goodbye.”

 

If on subsequent trips

to the Rue de la Reine

You return to his shop to drop by

You’ll find nothing more

Than a red painted door,

A courtyard, a fountain run dry

NPM: Siren Song

I am a siren singing on the rocks

knowing that I will one day draw you to myself

and hoping that you will be the one

who won’t get dashed to pieces

and fearing that history must always repeat itself

and loving you too much

to watch you die on the barren shore

my song falters, my words skitter away like frightened birds

I sit silent, afraid that you will come to me

and terrified that you won’t