Opus: Childhood

Opus: Childhood (with Tympani)
(played through Wisdom’s infundibulum)


Two forking arms, “To Now” and “Hence”, lay bare.
From too close proximity, discordantly they quivered,
With a sound to wrack the air and give it substance,
A gap too out of mind to remain unfilled
So that a filament appeared and grew.
Unstable, it stretched until it spanned the two.
Strained, it was stretched taut, singing,
To the systole and diastole of a heart,
As they moved apart, expanding, slowly singing,
Singing each day and for all days;
And it came to be know as Hope.

The loving instrument was strung and sounded.
And so sweet note upon note they came and played
Among the pillars of the intellect.
Laughing, on heaps of sand they scooped their magic
And by the level banks with skimming stones
Wrought their ripples from shore to silent shore,
Fractured and hurled the light with their dark eyes darting
Into the nights of questioning and ill ease,
And in curious whispers, mouthed the hearts of secrets
In their innocence, astounding the pondering minds,
That Old Ones made of them a continual treasure,
Broaching their sounds upon sentimental souls,
And heard them hungrily, for they were music,
Like music boxes to distracted kings.
They lost themselves in that precise disorder,
Drew peace from the searching smallness,
Desired motion.


Come my pretty one!
Sing your song and make me young!
Work the magic of your veins
And make me young again!
There’s always something somewhere to be had,
Fallen stars to mend,
And sunsets to be fed.

But come my pretty one with me!
Sing your song and set me free!
Work the magic of your veins
And make me young again!

There’s years to rock,
And yesterdays to shine.
We’ll wind a broken clock
That’s leaking time.

But come my pretty one,
Come walk my way
Before you find there’s no tomorrow
Waiting for today.”


Onward I watch the grave children marching.
Row upon row they file with eyebrows knit and pale lips firm.
Push forth, brave little children!
Through love and prayers, ambition and alphabets,
But singing, always singing
Spanning the gamut from alto to baritone.
For inside, infinitesimally, you slow,
Drawing music out from infinite debt.
Sing, sing ’til your voice becomes a croak!
But then, be still a moment, and listen intently,
To hum with your last what comes from just slightly behind.


The flesh is torn and it is irrevocable.
And as I hear this music, I can say
“I come a way I’ll never come again”.
But willingly, so willingly do I go
Forth to taste the sunlight,
Smell the air washed sweet with rain,
To contemplate the buds and mourn the leaves that fall
Say requiem, and save their memory
For the new children of Spring who follow singing.
Only there is pain in it, quite plainly, this coming forth
To embrace this joyful life as it passes, so briefly,
And then, reluctantly, to set it free.
Perhaps it is a shortage of these notes
That some may be in the choir while others must listen
Or some strange inborn quality of passage
That we cannot all sing or listen always
If there is to be music
And that music heard.

(written circa 1966)


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