"Octave" - Jim Richards

On the eighth day, Mother said Music
shall be thy name, and thou shalt live
among them—wretch, commoner, and king—

and speak unseen to their loss,
the petal of their joy, their hollow pain.
Thy Creator unknown to them shall be

yet in thy voice shall they behold
and in thy turbulence recall the Origin
and End, eternity and time as one.

And should they shun thee or forget
what gift thou art, abuse thee,
or dismember thee for death and dark

that hell where no music is
shall be their lot, where lute is plucked,
and trumpet blown without a sound,

the drum as mute as the moon
and cymbals as the stars before the sun.
Yet those who love thee will I love

and though their hearts be rent
from birth, thy warm washing
and anointing oil will sooth

the sorest lifespan in an instant
and welcome the broken traveler home
with a brimming cup, a hearthside, and a choir.

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