At a Solemn Musick

At a Solemn Musick
by Delmore Schwartz

Let the musicians begin,
Let every instrument awaken and instruct us
In love’s willing river and love’s dear discipline:
We wait, silent, in consent and in the penance
Of patience, awaiting the serene exaltation
Which is the liberation and conclusion of expiation.

Now may the chief musician say:
“Lust and emulation have dwelt amoung us
Like barbarous kings: have conquered us:
Have inhabited our hearts: devoured and ravished
—With the savage greed and avarice of fire—
The substance of pity and compassion.”

Now may all the players play:
“The river of the morning, the morning of the river
Flow out of the splendor of the tenderness of surrender.”

Now may the chief musician say:
“Nothing is more important than summer.”

And now the entire choir shall chant:
“How often the astonished heart,
Beholding the laurel,
Remembers the dead,
And the enchanted absolute,
Snow’s kingdom, sleep’s dominion.”

Then shall the chief musician declare:
“The phoenix is the meaning of the fruit,
Until the dream is knowledge and knowledge is a dream.”

And then, once again, the entire choir shall cry, in passionate unity,
Singing and celebrating love and love’s victory,
Ascending and descending the heights of assent, climbing and chanting triumphantly:
Before the morning was, you were:
Before the snow shone,
And the light sang, and the stone,
Abiding, rode the fullness or endured the emptiness,
You were: you were alone.

Delmore’s words have the clarity of diamonds and their sharpness. They cut deep in hearts.
I remember his words with my heart and not with my mind.
Consequently, the heart becomes the organ of knowledge and truths.

He inspired me to write “All Roads Lead to Rome”

“All words lead to Love
And the poetry in the afterLove

I wish I wrote poems
For the dreamers of barren lands.
They do not go to Rome
They go to places
That cannot be.
………………….
From a Good Place
Where joy is an illumination
To the Place that Cannot Be
They would have worn
The silver claw
of the Moon
above their heads
nightly
daily
musingly
vibrantly…”

Art – John William Waterhouse – Flora and the Zephyrs, 1898

Also featured at Medium.com.

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