Day Without Words

Today was music smoothing
over the silence after words
had lost their meaning. It began melancholy
with some Schubert
written between despair and exhilaration,
then moved on to an overture
two hundred years old and a suite
half its age. Time washed away
with the dishwater from breakfast
to accompany an adagio by Penderecki
while the news remained locked
inside the radio, too harsh
to be allowed out to disturb some melodies
from Scandinavia that played
between making the bed and wheeling
the recycling to the curb, beyond which
the country seemed suddenly
cruel and unpredictable
leaving a retreat to The Dance of the Jesters
a brighter option, followed
by Tango Jalousie
with its red lips and slicked back hair.
There was Haydn riding
in the car for the duration
of an errand, then Bach, some bright
Vivaldi, and a walk
unaccompanied by instruments
along a few mute streets
with no necessity to speak
and ask another person what
was on their mind right now, with the sky
still white from shock, although
my city looked to be
at peace.
Back home to the Waltz
of the Flowers, cats waiting
for their food, and some random thoughts
to sweep together
in hopes they’d add up to compassion
worthy of the Church Sonata by
Corelli in D major. Then the finches, lovebirds
cowbirds and the sparrows arrived
at the outdoor feeder
as a chorus of voices from a world
without care. Their language
spoke for the moments
before the day grew darker
and traffic thinned
to a sprinkling of headlights along
the interstate. A Mozart symphony ran
its familiar course, the Jupiter, until a star
struggled into place above
the city lights, and a Morning Hymn
by Niels Wilhelm Gade
anticipated the rose light at dawn
when generosity awakens
and no one has yet found the words
to deny it.

David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications online and in print, and often reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. A recent collection of poems is Bird on a Wire from Presa Press, and The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. A new book, Reading T. S. Eliot to a Bird, is out from Hoot ‘n Waddle, based in Phoenix. Read other articles by David.