This is the last time I will write my life
Into a daily sonnet, those things great,
Exciting, middling, sad, and sometimes strife,
Through stubbornness one cannot understate.
Tonight, I’ll sing to thousands and the sky
To fete a civic gem’s centenary
Then dinner, where we’ll bid the year goodbye
And sonnet cycle done successfully.
Tomorrow, will it feel strange not to write,
Thus letting loose the stories in my head?
Or will those nagging feelings in the night
Inspire me to read a book instead?
To paraphrase the words of one less boring
Who knows? I’ll get the sled. Let’s go exploring!
As one conversant with verse, rhyme, and scansion,
And long-familiar forms of poetry,
It’s not surprising I should seek expansion
From borders of familiarity.
Though language’s music is eternal,
Specific phrases and their orchestrations
Can bring about acknowledgment internal
That such things, as Wilde wrote, produce vibrations.
And so when watching other tales that came
A few years after those I know too well,
They cannot but my memory inflame,
Along with pride that it was done so well.
Though kismet might have lighted my ambition,
T’was perspicacity made me audition.
A day of tediousness and pointless stresses
Combined with ever-growing to-do lists,
Is one that unavoidably depresses,
Inexorable snappishness persists
Until this truly frivolous annoyance
Must needs compete for vanishing attention
Against the zenith of Baroque flamboyance;
Complexity defying comprehension.
As dark can only be destroyed by light
And hate can only be destroyed by love
Banality with Bach we all shall smite,
Via Vivaldi we’ll raise songs above.
When days are filled with sputtering invective,
My concert nights help put things in perspective.
And endless litany of work demands
That’s followed by the thrill of voicing song
With cherished friends and those with gifted hands,
Then followed by new music in a throng,
Supplanted then by comprehensive mope,
Upon deliverance of lousy news
About a thing for which I’d dare to hope,
Yet gentle hugs frustrations can defuse.
Discouraged, sad, and tired though I may be,
My last work day is scheduled for tomorrow
Before few precious days of liberty-
To think on that will soften any sorrow.
Tomorrow, I shall sacred songs employ.
Though glad of comfort, I hold hope for joy.
A whole can be, as Aristotle said,
So much more than the sum of all its parts,
But if we look at sum itself instead,
Linguistic variation it imparts.
For starters, dim sum, when enjoyed with friends
Is so much more than lunch with tasty food,
In Latin, sum’s “to be,” which then portends
A verb irregular and misconstrued.
And this is why our sums and our subtractions
Have multiplied as our divisions spread.
There is no function then, for mere abstractions
Accounting for those languages long dead.
Some texts were lost, but some survive unbroken,
And sung words will outlast those merely spoken.
The beautiful guitar I mostly-play,
Dave’s flute and twelve-string, Janet’s dulcet cello
And Jeff’s tin whistles join, one winter’s day
To lead O’Brien’s Pub in merry bellow.
The words are garbled, some don’t know the tune,
And calls for Free Bird happen frequently,
But none to Christmas carols is immune,
Especially when all are in one key.
And this is why we come from year to year,
With different leaders and with different casts
To raise a glass or three of Christmas beer
To keep tradition, hoping memory lasts.
Departed or far-flung though now we be,
We’re joined in time by our shared melody.
Like children with balloons who understand
The ground is deadly in the game they play
And seek to keep aloft with foot or hand
That airy spheroid as long as they may,
I’ve filled my year’s remaining days and nights,
With singing, learning music, and performing,
In hopes that all the caroling and lights
Will keep the clouds of grief from ever forming.
For each experience that gives me joy
Makes melancholy in an equal measure,
Enough to temporarily destroy
The satisfaction one may find in leisure.
Once more I bat myself into the air
And hope that word and song will keep me there.