Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
No more music
No more music
What if there were no more music, what if all horns under a hatch
Were loaded down, all strings and voices shipped away, music a parable
The very old told the very young? What if under all the sky-dome
Nothing but wind, and birds and water in wind, to the ear were trouble,
And what if there had been this almost unknown absence a long, long time?
We would hear our own voices, the lightest breaking of silence a theme
For wonder, for tales of sawing wood, the click of a lifted latch,
Miracles in words of wings, how in the air there seemed a ringing,
Almost like music, but we would not know what had never seemed a loss.
I who love silence and small sound fear one man, with an ebony
Sort of flute, would not have drowned from that ship, the discourse
Of storm and distance not quieted him, and that, escaped, he would flee
Home, and oh he would think of it as home. In his other sensibility
He would travel fast to return us to his piping, and oh no lingering.
Then it would begin all over again, his thin music at first a smoke,
Then a cloud above our landscape, then a wall not again to be severed,
Built upon by new kinds of brass, beatings, and up to such a height
That - No, I'll catch him at the coast, and just as he has recovered
From ocean, coughing salt-water, I'll stone him and set him afloat
With his attempt at the rescue of tweetle, and return him to night,
And make pipe-smoke, and think about the music in movement of smoke .