They glowed like sumptuous bodies
lazing along a horizon, curvaceous,
heartstrings stilled from neck to belly
as they awaited your hands.
Violins wounded and worn out
were lain on the table, spruce or willow
parted from maple, ebony fingerboard set aside.
Burnished by use, flame and curl of grainings
brightened in a small pool of yellow light.
I handed you tools that pried, filed, shaved,
smoothed, fragile curlicues falling,
glue pot bubbling its tangy stink.
Your voice pianissimo, calando, as always
now more so as you split, rejoined wood
tenderly, and through thickened air it all
spread to me, the longing for symmetry of beauty,
its promise of more, all emptiness resonant
with respect for wonder,
and deft measures of love.
Tonight I rest inside this poem, watch trees,
maples shaking leaves as percussion,
pines gathering notes of blue shadow,
willows draping skirts for dancing.
The crickets call me closer to twilight.
And I know you were not satisfied
with hours of exquisite work, nor
your good, honest music making
nor the lives of your children of whom
you knew far less yet expected much more
but I tell you these trees are yet singing,
a timbre of richness and strength of the wood
and it takes hold of me as sudden light in
this deep forest, its vibrancy a sound post
for spirit, life’s movements a vibration
I claim, hum, can sing in kind solitude.
They are made of every song you taught me
and every song I did not share.
The bodies of trees ever pull me,
a living offering of grace,
their sacrifices never forgotten