Composing a cello hymnus in Hampden

June 27, 1996|By Hannah Strauss AT POETRY

He saw the cellos there, a silent choir

-- a dozen bathers poised and waiting by the wall

to leap beyond some lifeguard's beckoning.

The shop was open, ''Rental & repair

of Double-basses, Cellos, Vio-

lins by Expert. Bows and Strings.''

One oscillating wave . . . this vivid air

submerged him in its tide! The full

room's ''hummm'' refracted, flooding

through the prism of his ear:

its sole tone widened to display all

tones -- the spectrum of all things

a man could speak and hear --

within his mind. He must kneel:

the umber trees with burnt-sienna sheen

reveal their music in a prayer

that he will learn and tell

in praise that these carved woods can sing.

Pub Date: 6/27/96

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