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Listening to Maria Callas

by  James Graham

Posted: Friday, January 23, 2015
Word Count: 161
Summary: For this week's music challenge.

Listening to Maria Callas

My neighbour’s van growls by
with a stuttering crescendo and a long
diminuendo down the hill. Another snarl:
a rotary percussion drill, or something,
wakes like a serpent de profundis,
performs its ugly upward slur, and whines.

Enough. I power up
my gentle engine.
Track seven. Preset.

Strings whisper like blown grasses, then the first note
breaks like a morning sun through smokeless air.

Casta Diva, she implores. O virgin goddess,
we behold your lovely face. This voice
of one who was no angel, is lovelier
than all the invisible choirs we conjure.
It falls without slur across a pensive
interval, and my tears obey. There is
no other sound in all the universe.

Spargi in terra pace, she cries out.
Sow peace on earth. When the long

last chord is breathed, then the innocent
tools and motors may repeat their tuneless tunes

but the howls and rat-a-tats of armies,
let them be now and always silent.