Riding over the garden wall the moon could be a chorister,
a balding baritone. From the way expectation encircles
his mouth, his cheeks puffed to preserve the legato,
I wonder if he’s singing Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium,
the long O of the first few bars shining across the frozen lawn.
It yearns for an echo.
Beata Virgo, he sings among the naked trees, O Great Mystery.
See how his eyebrows meet in ecstasy. Yes,
let’s wish him a soprano, an ethereal girl from the choir
who probably finds him annoying.
If only she could see him here among the staccato trees,
how his eyebrows meet in ecstasy, the O of his pleasure,
how could she but add her voice, become with him polyphony?
Virgo, you must love this man tonight, imagine his hands
clasping a folder of music, his hurrying from supper,
fervent in the wish to be on time.
And so he is—loud and clear among the stars—
worthy of the distant alleluia,
the distant alleluia.
This poem first appeared in Passager.
Used here with the author’s permission.