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So many beginnings, and nothing to show for it,
words enter, and then fade,
leaving not even a shadow's pretense
or footprints in a shifting sand.

The rhythms of each rite
press darkly against my thoughts
raining sweat about my ears
and itching this chin to laugh.

O Johannes, and Ludwig,
each understood the measure
of a quiet repose
intermittent with sacrilage.

Could Richard have known
any more the crime of his craft
had he abandoned tonality altogether
or entertained Messiaen-ic plainsong?

How much longer these temples stand,
than the simple words
which fall from my lips,
O to be a party to such deviant creation!

Wherefore a word's life may only
pretend a generation or naught,
our precious music might outlast
even there these mighty marble monuments.

© hok, September 20, 1993