Poetry.

Evensong

-CC BY-SA 3.0, Yair Haklai

Carillon tower, Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam. Attrib: Yair Haklai, CC BY-SA 3.0.

In campanili carillons ring out,
perpetually pealing on the hour;
a life is lived from lauds into matins.

A basso reaches low to mete our time,
and all the while, so regular, so deep,
his ostinato echoes in the vault,
a solo drumbeat inexorable.

In early light, there comes on morning breeze
the sound and fury of an infant’s cries;
around a cradle family intones
a gentle warming dulcet lullaby.

In campanili carillons ring out.

At morning’s heart a halting voice is heard;
a child sings once, then pauses for a trice,
unfettered now and shouting ever more
a recitation, even aria,
the ancient tribal rhythms mimicked first,
unknowing, seeking blindly solo voice,
yet sings together with the children all
a choir symphonic and at once opposed.

In campanili carillons ring out.

When sun is South all lovers harmonize,
air endlessly their passionate duets,
now hearing music only they attend,
in thrall to moments of eternity.

In campanili carillons ring out.

In fields and orchards choruses resound
with chants to ease the harvest time travails,
in unison bring sustenance for all,
as day’s consumed and burdens cumulate.

In campanili carillons ring out.

Aloft, at last the evensong arrives,
with birds on wing still trilling madrigals;
As yet the seat remains unsure, astride,
still wand’ring in the twilight paths unknown.

Oh live! Oh live! That ceaseless cri de coeur
of all souls, caged but unrestrainable,
oft rife with fear – unreasonably so? –
of infinite corruption that is death.

Ah, evensong, e’en whispers to us now
across the commons to the heart alone,
which chants, which groans, which lifts, which seeks to know
the cryptic course to immortality.

In campanili carillons ring out,
perpetually pealing on the hour;
a life is lived from lauds into matins.


Notes: A discussion of how this poem was written can be found here.

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