A misty mountain top, sun dazzled by
a song of sorts. A fugue perhaps whose
cold strict parts resound with a fiery
tune. How hear it now? How could any
choir sing it? Any gong, bell, celeste,
flute, fife, clarinet, oboe, zither,
sitar, lyre, pipa, biwa, all of the Concert-
gebouw together play it? Had dust-covered
men ever beaten it on deer skin drums?
Black-clad women, tossing seeds on graves,
wailed it, tearing the air? Had any bard
intoned it after battle? In the Negev
holy men, in Compostela’s narrow streets
pilgrims chanted it? Did viols perform it

as a courtiers’ pavan? On what village green,
beneath what shell, had a band played
it as a march for soldiers in gray or blue?
Did Grumiaux tune his fiddle to it before
he played Mozart or Bach? Did Corelli
warm his voice to it before he sang
E lucevan le stelle? Do birds, their hearts
light-quickened, warble it at noon? Or wolves
howl its agonies at the moon? The song
is lost to us like strands of the sun. Yet deep
in a forest, a plain bright eyed little girl,
centuries dust, still hums its tunes as she
picks up pretty pebbles and gathers nuts
to please herself and comfort us.

number 22 in the 2River Chapbook Series