I have written a lot about music, both on this blog and in Resonate. And while I don’t want to always ride my own hobby horse, we can always stand to be re-awakened to amazing aspects of the world God made—like music. I recently came across this wonderful poem written by a friend of mine in my church, and I’m sharing it here.
The reason I want to share this poem is that it encapsulates in short, poetic thoughts so much of the wonder of music. In a short space, this poem explores many of music’s most powerful and enigmatic features: its physicality, its allure, its structure, its freedom and adaptability, its ability to suggest, its connection to the human experience and human emotions, its divine origin, etc. The poem does all of this while still preserving the inherent mystery of music.
So I’m posting the poem here (with the author’s permission) in hopes that you will reflect on the mysterious power of music and come to better appreciate the musical world you inhabit. We tend to take music for granted, in the sense that we fail to value it. But we should take music for granted, in the sense that we see it as a wonderful gift of God and make a continued effort to enjoy it for all it’s worth.
© Jim O’Brien – January 2009
The overture lasted six days
After a measure of rest
He began to fill the staff
Of an unending composition
Filled with keys and meters
Melodies and harmonies
Rhythms and timbres
A symphony of mystery
And anxious anticipation
A dissonant chord
Remains a constant reminder
And demands resolution
As acts of engagement
There are no accidentals
The music is miraculous
How often does He sing the blues?
Does He cry when He hears Handel’s Messiah?
Do Gilbert and Sullivan make Him laugh?
What does He think of rap?
Finite styles from ethnic and regional identities
Who connects to all forms?
What is it that the Creator places in the heart
That makes the Russian and Italian
Express passion uniquely?
Why does a concerto enhance a sunset?
How is it that one style embellishes
And another distracts?
Who says that country or blue-grass
Only work when a mill and water-wheel are present?
A river absent a man’s intrusion
Wants a stringed quartet or piano and cello
Can a trombone paint a hummingbird?
Must the brush be a flute?
How is it possible that wind
Through branches and leaves
Can render an illusion of rain?
What comes to mind
With the sound of rolling timpani, crashing cymbals?
Is it the rhythm of the ocean?
Or a flash from a massive billowing anvil?
Man has been given a gift to create
Instruments that recreate
The sounds that He created
To what purpose?
We can guess
The composer knows
I think He wants us to know Him
I do have one question:
The frequency of eight is double that of one
Logical, simple, …divine?