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Applause. The players sit, and settle. Pause. And then
a quick acknowledgement of eyebrows, and begin.

It always takes a while for time to leave the room:
for music only, and its makers, to remain.

But leave it does, and here, I see, first cello
wears a beatific smile, as if possessed by ghosts
of genius inhabiting her trembling fingers,
visitors unbidden whom she gladly hosts.

Schubert’s String Quintet in C is serious:
first violin has worked her face into a frown,
prising the clearest truth she can from lines of code.
The five unite, the one divides, and we are one

with them, within the music, in the silences
the other side of music. In their give-and-go,
their nods and glances, each one guards apartness
and surrenders to entirety. And this is how

they turn our various, distracted minds, and lead them,
willing and intent for now, deep, deeper, down
swimming in wells of sound at once familiar
and, as they plumb the furthest mysteries, unknown.

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Listen to this poem — read by the author