Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Rehearsal Sestina

Rehearsals always cluster at the end,
in days and hours before the concert starts,
a mild panic spurring us to move,
to finally learn and memorize the lines
that by tomorrow will become a sound
we hope will not embarrass us to sing.

And so we, with our morning voices, sing
in squeaky croaks we hope will not portend
defects or painful flinch-inducing sounds
that cause our trusting audience to start,
then queue up in a fast-departing line,
successfully—though incorrectly—moved.

So from our throats all roughness we remove,
our confidence and spirits slowly rising,
slowly becoming something more in line
with what we all imagine and intend.
In spite of the occasional restart
we know we’re getting closer to the sound

that fills us, sound that makes the hall resound.
We feel it now: a twitch, the slightest movement,
almost a flutter, joyful little upstart
wanting to join us, to help us sing
itself. Faintly at first, but if we tend
it well, then soon our every note and line

will resonate in ways that underline
the meanings, not just glib and pretty sounds,
but feelings, thoughts, and aspirations blending
into the truest power of song to move
our hearts, to teach our very souls to sing,
to make each moment shine like a fresh start.

On Sunday we will gather then, to start
our voices, form ourselves into our lines—
and then at last the moment comes to sing.
And if from higher realms we hear a sound
like resonating grace, we will be moved
to offer thanks to our Beloved Friend.

So let the music start!—and let the sound
of interweaving lines our spirits move.
We’ll sing with hearts uplifted to the end.

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