Chamber Musicians Also Wash the Dishes, Check the Mail

Our Poem of the Week is a piece by one of our favorite poets, Jack Ridl, who is from Michigan. It’s a great poem with an even greater title.

Chamber Musicians Also Wash the Dishes, Check the Mail

But now the chamber musicians are
just past halfway in Glazunov’s Elegy,

the part where in rehearsal they stopped.
“It feels as if I’m behind.”

“I don’t think so. I think I’m ahead.”
When I listened all I heard was a whole note held

in the third movement of a symphony
by Tinnitus, all I felt was the wax waning

onto the timpani of my ear drum.
Next comes another elegy, this by Suk,

Suk who was fifteen when he wrote its
sorrow-filled walk through what he did

not yet know. The chamber musicians
know.  They carry elegy in their fingers.

They open the world on the other side
of every note and let us breathe

within the haunting space between each
touch of key and pull of bow. They believe

heaven is between the stars, music
in the empty sleeve of the one-armed man.

-Jack Ridl
Douglas, Michigan