The Music of Love

The rusted bells ring,

Or rather, clank his arrival. He bows

At the door like a night and rests

His knee on her porch. Her purple lips and measured

Voice singing a standard welcome tune:

"Come in, you must be beat."

"You bet I'm beat,

The road is still ringing

In my ear. In the mountains I couldn't tune

In the radio after a while." He notices her bow:

Thin, black, velvet ribbon. He measures

Her dress size and all the rest.

"Well, it's late," she says, "better get some rest."

He thinks: (my feet thud and my heart beats

Too loud. Will this visit be the measure

Of my life? This time will she keep up the ring

I've brought to become her beau,

She's my world, my art, my tune;

We sing in harmony with the sun! Ha! I'm a cartoon,

A joke, a fool! Why should the rest

Of my life be different from now? My bow

Is shot, my sword is split, and honor beaten).

The latching door to his room rings

In his head and he hums measure by measure

The song he wrote for her to proclaim the measureless

Love in his heart. He drifts to sleep and his tune

Distorts in his head. A rusting gilded ring

Dances in his dream as he rests

And black drums pound and beat

His song into bars of iron. The notes bend and bow

To the will of a bony conductor, who grins and bows

To a thunderous roaring applause beyond decibel measure.

And the drums never stop beating

And the music is wrenched out of tune;

Rising and twining to a feverish pitch, never resting,

And he jolts in his bed to the alarm clock ring.

On a maple bough outside a robin rests

Secure and confidently rings the changes of its tune

And beats the song of spring in mystic measures.

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© 1990 - Scott Lawrence Lawson