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“Shenandoah River Songfest May, 2012” a poem by Lee Maynard

 

Music

They came for the music

They were not a collection of strangers

They were not strangers at all,

A small gathering made known to each other

Returning again and again

Over the years

Returning through their love for each other

And by their yearning for the music

And that made them family

Day laborers

Artists

Amateur cooks better than any professionals

Nurses

Lawyers

Writers

People who knew how to frame a house

People who knew how to command armies

And did

Soldiers then

Soldiers now

And still others of unknown skill and wisdom

There was no common age

No common dress

No common way of life

No common way of thinking

There was only their common want for the music

And the uncommon current of their laughter

They sat in shade and sun and heat and rain,

Not caring about what was happening in any world

Of their knowing

Except this one

Here

Now

By the river in the sun

For one bright weekend they sat beneath giant trees

Made large by the flow from a crystal river

Made emerald by the sun

They sat on lush grass

Beside babies sleeping on blankets

Cushioned by the beating heart of Earth,

Knowing that all babies, somewhere, sometime,

Should sleep next to the soft pulse of Mother

The rain

Gentle, caressing

And then more insistent,

Drumming softly and rhythmically on the canopies,

The sound an underlying applause beneath the music   Sent from some higher place to please and compliment The musicians

There was no wind, the rain coming straight and true

To the people and the music

As the music came straight and true

The music

The music was clean, clear and cleansing

It stirred the souls of any within hearing

There were no lights, no costumes, no flashes of emptiness    Having nothing to do with music

This was pure music, picked from mystic strings,

Tumbling down into the people as from some garden

Of pure joy

Sung by voices unheard in concert halls

Sung by voices unchanged by any artificial hand of man

The players ended their playing and then sat with the audience

The musicians were the listeners

The listeners were the musicians

There were no opening acts

No stars following

All were stars

All shone

The music began midday,

Ending when sheer exhaustion called a halt

And people dozed against each other's shoulders

But one day was not enough.

Some came early, the night before

More coming each year

Gathering around an open fire

The music coming as it would

The talk filling the open spaces

The last day came and went

And still a tiny group lingered,

The family smaller, now,

Sitting almost quietly in the warmth

Of another bright morning

Unwilling to let it go

Unwilling to let it end

The music

By the river

LM

 

 

 

 

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