Saturday, January 19

Sunt Lacrimae Rerum

The glittering dance of brilliants must be strung
On that dark thread of sadness which is time,
No matter what bright melodies are sung.

When great symphonic combers swell and climb
Then curl and, swooping, rush towards the shore,
We hear a faint and melancholy chime.

This might come from a drowned cathedral or
Be carried on the wind from inland tower
In market-place, or church on distant moor.

Beneath the surging glory and the power
Of Beethoven or Bach, or tenderness
Of Schubert lieder's frailer sonic flower

We hear the spectral sighing of distress,
For time is music's element and we
Know murderous time can offer no redress.

Yet which of us, I wonder, were he free
To choose, would wish away the voice that sings
The keening descant of mortality

Inseparable from all that music brings
Of love, heart-piercing truth, the tears in things.

-- Vernon Scannell

Vernon Scannell