Concert At South Creake Church
by Bob Ward
Janacek, String Quartet no.2, “Intimate Letters”
Overhead soar gaudy presences
past being targets for God’s marksmen
in that iconoclastic civil war
but now restored to glory, wooden
angels brace for hallelujahs
wrested from them only by a prayer.
Down here a quartet storms the pews
with passionate playing from a score
where quavers crunch against the staves
hurled by an old man desperate for love.
Then at the close of an adagio
the ‘cellist keens a fading note . . .
Her pale arm lifts the bow as if
seeking to extend a precious peaceful
silent space absorbing sorrows
recollected without bitterness before
she must plunge into the still unbroken
surface of the music yet to come.
Look up! Fluttering in the roof: no
not the angels broaching upon life
but bats whirling in a sombre flight,
virtuosi in a world we’ll never hear,
so the silence holds, the audience
stays drawn into a momentary peace,
as consummation in that calm between
the raised arm, bow and silent strings
where music culminates for pilgrim souls
in finding blessèd rapture in repose,
where angels bravely choke back memories
while bats perfect their sonic mastery.