FIVE CENTURIES SOUTH OF CHRIST

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From 'Cymbalennium' (2000-CD LinerPoem~iTunes Link@ ArtistGeneral.com featuring "bowhammers" my radical departure from the hand-held 2-hammer history of the instrument) The Cymbalom—is a modern Hungarian version of the hammered dulcimer, first appearing in Persia 2500 years ago as the santur)

Five centuries south of Christ
I see Persians hold their own—like herons poised in tidepools, braced to penetrate time
with pitch, as if no gesture had more meaning than the right note, struck now, just so—

leaning centered to a fish-eyed moment’s prayer, then plunging--hands blurred,

music airborne

--children suddenly without a word, their shadows over the strings still as Tarot cards
shifting the shade of one hand over another, telling a future deep with lifetimes
bent to the wingspan of their strange new bird, their trapezoid plane—gut strung, heartfelt,
notes hammered over a drone rolling would-be passersby to a halt, pulling spiritual attention
like water into tree rings, into the birth of an instrument on earth for the long haul (first shoot
of bristlecone pine, redwood, sequoia) first public page of thousands in a guestbook signed
by that same struck look empires & ages later, that shared moment of mortal commonwealth,
like bread among strangers whose appetite for giving is suddenly equal to receiving—memory
through memory, face by face, soul to soul, in public squares & private circles, palace gardens &

shade by the river—in love & work, in leisure & death taken in, taken up, now this culture,

now that one. . .in blood, sweat & tears of vanished populations, metabolized. . .passed on.
So two-and-a-half thousand years later they still play out the ginger footwork of certain birds
--the dance before & after love or flight, the stork’s lilting courtship in the indigo lagoon—
the free-skittering flutter of sandpiper now slow, retracing, turning to fly
in the face of the deep, but low—through that everlasting look of New Creation
in salt-blown reaches of the sea, as if any higher might break back from lucid dreaming
to the jealous, nosy reality of the world.

Connected to the history of my instrument I stand reminded how raw talent finds its own tree, 

builds its own nest but crossbreeds from a common yet secret aviary—as if a spirit borne
of player & played eventually—very eventually brings to bear its own redefining spin, taking
recombinant liberties & finally overshadowing a wobbly bid for distinction with momentous,
brazen exotics—odd but soulful birds from a deck of sorrows drawn to winning hands down
on a roll—default-line sourcecode, unique to any given moment, or lifetime, of truth in music

—shaken free. Totemix—Swanthrush. . .dovestritch, owlpecker. Crowmingo, hummingcrane,
whoopingbird, heronswallow—bald eaglepiper. Peahawk. . .

 

II The clock indicates the moment; but what does eternity indicate? ----Walt Whitman

 

Time was born in fire—there’s been no gap without it since, without fire. Music is a controlled burn of time, making light of it, particle & wave of it, a heard instinct grasping & releasing emotional nuances of eternity

in the flesh, this side of the grave,

becoming a door, the window opens

through a given instrument. How shall we know
the dancer from the dance? Heisenberg had a certain answer. Another possible
is supernatural ambiguity at a rotating third point of providence so focused it divides
zero into one & triangulates the circle squared with an infinity

recycled from a universe no longer in use.

In practice theory begs a baited question, re-poses an unconscious
answer like framing—mortally correct—from the right angle—the river’s last bend
before the mouth. . .zoom
longshot while there’s light enough to catch those trees offering heartfelt songbirds
in the veined rustle of midsummer leaves, one by one, or the forest itself, its canopy
sounding like the sea to each moment of grace at the periodic table of the sun. 
Tell

the dancer from the dance when the circle breaks then, when December leaves join
at last the downward spiral of the rest, curling so dry around whatever love is left
they give sound to snowfall on contact, turning back to earth or soaring for a spell
in a north wind---south. . .for more than obvious reasons instruments are made
from trees, the firewood of history in music, an unsung fact prompting me to follow
into new depths of silence the grainfed drone of cymbalom, rotating its mobius
timbral helix from under into over tone, ringing long & true to all its time on earth,

empowered to renew dimension flattened in a world seduced by worthless burdens. . .

how much remains lost to a shock of spiritual recognition—how much stock
in the Endless Beancount, how much interest vested in the Bittersweet Pennies,
how much water gone now under the crossed bridge of the First Clock
belaboring the measured narrative of mortality. . .

but music—of the moment, or the day, or the age—is renewed like sex & fire, kept like a vow,

like a secret, like a distance-

the deeded paradise of fools at bay—you can tell by ear the grainflared hollow
of the right instrument’s hand, its open reach—or at a glance how much by heart
the whorled shell holds the ocean’s treasured call—how sometimes resident frequencies
of the Unknown teach by undoing an expected harmony on contact from within, revoice
a passing chord or suspend a resolution with a different fingerprint of final silence, chilling spine

in dancing so invisibly close to more obvious music. 

Tree by tree the years ring on regardless--& the bird gone from hand to bush, now of prey, now of fire, tries a measure of foothold melting from land to sudden sea—haunting the carried day like an afterlife
ahead of its time, periodic in the element of surprise, in search & rescue of untapped
epiphany, infinite treasure.

A blue flamingo. 

Wading among icebergs.

 

"HOW BOWHAMMERS CAME TO HUMAN FINGERS" https://scriggler.com/DetailPost/Poetry/27462

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