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(This story poem, composed of over 1100 lines of iambic tetrameter in rhyming triplets, follows a young medieval musician through his initiation into the mysteries of music and the famed Court of Love, then onward to the building of Europe’s great cathedrals)


Recorded Poem:



For Jean-Luc I take up my pen
Who as a boy of Amiens
Grew up among laboring men
In the North of ancient France
No luxury or elegance
Were his — he did not learn to dance

Or how to lovely music play
But every village holiday
Found him on its procession’s way
Listening with all his heart
For the sweet melodies to start
Where maidens, taking each a part

Leap, skip and twirl in merry dance
Their sweet feminine radiance
Did the little boy entrance
Those tunes remaining in his ear
‘Twixt celebrations, year to year
In his fond memory he’d hear

Them over and over again
He felt the joy of living then
Those were for him the moments when
It good was to exist on Earth
Though bread be sometime at a dirth
And music be of little worth

To they who struggled to find food
For the innumerable brood
With which his hearthside was imbued
Such lusty brawling children were
Difficult for him to infer
As kin, or company prefer

He was himself so delicate
And to pursuits oft dedicate
As different as they could get
From any most could understand
Who wrung their living from that land
Sometimes amid the woods he’d stand

As still as any tree or stone
Unlonely although all alone
Serene and tranquil to the bone
Harkening to melodies
Of singing birds among the trees
The rustling of many leaves

And sighing in the branches of
Wild playful breezes far above
His soul completely soaked in love
By running water he would sit
Listening, listening to it
Absorbing, bit by lovely bit

Its every subtle resonance
His hearing was his sharpest sense
Could con a rabbit ten yards hence
When anyone at distance stepped
In naming them was most adept
However quietly they crept

However diligent they tried
Their true identity to hide
His guesses never were belied
He oft filled up his dreaming days
In strange and unusual ways
Which did his neighbors oft amaze

Whistling and humming he
Might anywhere be found to be
Placing stones so as to see
If by such means a flowing creek
In altered tones be made to speak
Special grasses he would seek

And blow upon for diff’rent sound
Than came from the those more near around
In such effects did he abound
And animal calls imitate
As did their seeming selves create
More nearly than words can relate

This child found music even in
Those bantam roosters’ raucous din
Which did each farmers’ morn begin
And lowing of the cattle they
Came herding on their homeward way
In evening of that selfsame day

Of sloshing butter as it churned
Or of fire crackling as it burned
A dozen bird calls he had learned
Mayhap upon some other day
He memorized the joyous lay
Of human children at their play

To him, everything music be!
At his home unfortunately
Although they tried to leave him free
His dreaming magic to pursue
Of working hands there were too few
To sacrifice to music two

Might be for growing food employed
An a day’s labor he avoid
Immersed in pleasures unalloyed
For that priveledge had to pay
By taking sustenance away
From family some other day

And though they placed small pressure on
Their wandering, magical faun
He could not bear to live upon
That which must to another be
Given even more sparingly
Because of unproductive he

Who though yet but a teenage lad
Indeed a tender conscience had
So farewell to his parents baid
And placing bread within a pouch
Left his humble childhood couch
The hearth where he’d been wont to crouch

Listening fireside sounds unto
To all familiar said adieu
Lengthening adolescent view
The far horizon to embrace
Then southerly he set his face
And left that safe and homely place

The only he had known in life
For all its sad, tenuous strife
Taking his bread pouch and his knife
He walked into the dawning day
With birds to sing him on his way
And lifting heart, and strange to say

Felt no anxiety at all
Regarding that which might befall
Dangers which av’rage souls appall
At merest contemplation. He
Sonambulent appeared to be
As of his village he shook free

And set his feet upon the road
Where glory and destruction bode
Then firmly to the south he strode
Guided that way unerringly
By inner voices new to he
Who newly independent be

He went his way, our youthful lad
By absence made a little sad
But hopeful, happy, humble — glad
To know him true to God and to
His heart, which more than surely knew
Departure was a gift unto

Those left behind — ’twas his belief
His absence would mean sweet relief
To those whom he had brought more grief
When weighed ‘gainst any whispy joy
That such an incapable boy
Who could not e’en himself employ

Might ever by his presence bring
Oh, but around him everything
From trees to birds upon the wing
And flowers, heather, mistletoe
Had taken on the rosy glow
Only the clear of conscience know

He moved abroad amid a day
Beneficent in every way
More beautiful than words can say
So beautiful, beside it mere
Concern, anxiety and fear
Drew not a breath, a sigh, a tear

For something deep inside him knew
With every forward step he grew
More sure that even he unto
Yes, even unto such as he
Extended was and hence would be
Custodial divinity

Holding securely in its thrall
One who thus gave his all in all
For justice — would not let him fall
Whether alive or dead he be
At ending of his odyssy
His spirit light would be, and free

To carol its way heavenward
Receiving there its just reward
In garnet flow’rs, emerald sward
And rivers sparkling in the sun
In clarity his quest begun
He looked around at everyone

Upon the roadway by his side
Beloved, each, as ’twere a bride
Long separation had denied
For howsoever bent they were
However features coarse endure
However time in skin immure

Aged and dry the shining child
The laughing boy, the lover wild
The gamine girl, the maiden mild
These it were his new vision sought
And found not one among the lot
In any but beauty begot

Nor walking any path but light
And it was only dear delight
To walk beside on left or right
Asking each their good story for
Tender were it or drenched in gore
Or else, likely by far the more

Composed of moments commonly
Shared by such as mundane we
Who never much adventure see
But yet the world comes by our door
It walks inside, sits on our floor
And we are never same the more

Births, marriages, pain and death
Came to our boy with every breath
Spoken by others. Thus the breadth
Of being came into his mind
And heart by virtue of the kind
Folks whom upon that road he find

Consenting thence to shelter our
Young traveler when came the hour
Eventual we lose our pow’r
Our grace and our ability
In forward motion yet to be
The body, feeble, must agree

To rest and feed ere it can go
Once more to and once more fro
All its accustomed vigor know
At other times he slept upon
The naked ground, then wandered on
His aimless, endless Search upon

Often forgot to hungry be
Gazing all wond’ring at a tree
Whose outheld arms seemed so to be
Extended to’ard him in embrace
It seemed to him that he could trace
Lineamants of sent’ient face

On every animal he saw
Constructed all unto a law
Undeviating, without flaw
Two eyes above, a mouth beneath
The latter often filled with teeth
The former able to bequeath

Selfsame expressions as our own
An insight we can’t hope to own
Whom wild beasts’ gaze have never known
Familiar with it so became
Jean-Luc, he rapidly could name
Each fond emotion just the same

As those human animals know
His resting mind became so slow
He all but watched the flowers grow
And thus he traveled far and long
Learning the right, learning the wrong
Which he would later put in song

To comfort and to educate
Ones world unto the next relate
Ones sorrow make to seem as great
Unto another as his own
‘Twere but that other hadn’t known
How dread the first’s travail had grown

Overwhelming speedily
More than any man should be
Made to face solitarily
None of the people he now met
Did Jean-Luc afterward forget
Felt himself ever in their debt

For characters who graced each note
Of all the songs he later wrote
Which hearts of tender ladies smote
Who mayhap, after hearing, then
Went out into the world of men
Asking them to look again

At policies which suff’ring cause
Giving their delicate applause
To they correcting social flaws
Or bringing their divine relief
To spirits broken beneath grief
Or turning over that new leaf

On which to write a better life
For little children, loving wife
Husbands struggling in strife
And when these had broken through
That newer, brighter life unto
There were astonishingly few

Turned not again to lend a hand
To listen and to understand
In courtrooms justice stern demand
And reach to help the fallen one
Back to a path better begun
Out of the shadows, to the sun

And all of this from just a tune
Played beneath a mellow moon
Mayhap after the fond buffoon
Had made them laugh, and ‘ere the dance
Leading to amorous romance
Jean-Luc would seize the passing chance

To give his listeners this gift
To overcome the yawning rift
Twixt human souls, and hearts to lift
Beyond mere base self interest
Becoming by compassion blessed
Ones mind by other’s fate impressed

And spirit opened thus unto
Its fellows as tragic’ly few
Bother themselves ever to do…
But for the nonce, he lift his feet
Each next soul on the road to meet
And in a friendly manner greet

Requesting him to share his tale
His ecstasy, his sore travail
His efforts to no good avail
And other times, successfully
Some fonder goal he’d brought to be
Or tragedies he’d lived to see

Then loves of his had been a part
Decisions he’d considered smart
Or proven stupid from the start…
In such a way Jean-luc began
To learn about his fellow man:
Generally so partisan

Rather than open to the whole
Fixated on each narrow goal
No matter if it take its toll
Upon his fellow citizen
Ne’er ceasing in his hurry when
The suffering of fellow men

Became the price which must be paid
There hath no man by self been made
A fiction which but denigrate
The servants, friendships, family
By whom success hath come to he
So afterward ungrateful be

For much assistance on the way
How long Jean spent he could not say
In drifting thus from day to day
Listening from morn till night
To tales of horror and delight
Love triumphing even in spite

Of overwhelming odds, or now
Failing tragically enow
Harsh circumstance to which it bow
Companions lost, companions found
Companions buried ‘neath the ground
An infant son’s first living sound

Or toddling daughter’s beaming smile
A stranger resting for a while
On some familiar peristyle
Alien of raiment and of hair
With unfamiliar words to share
Which benefitted all who there

Found themselves him blessed beside
The blushes of a virgin bride
Or son who was his father’s pride
Unhesitating sacrifice
A well loved child’s survival price
Amazing grace, appalling vice

All poured into the sensitive
Unjudging ear the humble give
‘Mongst whom they destined are to live
Nor seek themselves to separate
Call others small and themselves great
Keep some in, some outside the gate

Leading to hearts shriveled in sin
But even as a Quest begin
It holds its ending well within
And so, as eventually
For the most earnest seekers be
He came that pathway’s end to see

It happened at a moment when
Separated from fellow men
He’d paused to rest himself and then
Found his eyes closing of their own
Amazing slender had he grown
A sleeping youth to all unknown

They lingered his deep slumber near
Some curious, and some from fear
At having th’unfamiliar near
(Our vestigial instincts are
Forever prone to start at war
A civilized attempt before

To know the worth of any new
Quantity we unwilling view
Draw our possessions near unto
The which we fear that they might steal
While also fearing something real
And good and whole our souls might heal

Giving responsibility
Back unto unwilling we
In healthiness — that which we be
When stripped of all advantages
Oft undeservedly which bless
Those living under small duress

O’er those who live beneath the knife
Of poverty, hung all through life
Over the heads of child and wife)
Yes, thin emaciation to
The sleeping youth they’d come to view
And pale, and wasted, those things too

But under his clear skin there shone
Some light like none under their own
His locks had long and curly grown
And curved around his handsome throat
As flutists curl around a note
His even brow seemed to denote

A gentlemanly temper, and
It clear became but by the hand
Flung out beside him on the land
That he no common workman were
Each woman thought she could infer
That history she might prefer

This comely youth perchance had had
Who though in ragged clothing clad
Seemed neither evil nor yet mad
But something none had met before
And inwardly did some deplore
What sadness left him on their shore

From out the tumbling waves of fate
They could not long there hesitate
The afternoon was growing late
They must pack up the things they’d bought
For there was dinner to be got
So gave Jean Luc no further thought

But went each on his sep’rate way
So it was, as we often say
In the dying of the day
Our intrepid trav’ler woke
To smells of peat and chimney smoke
And loudly then his stomach spoke

He eaten had but thrice that week
He found his arms and legs but weak
Though knew he must some shelter seek
Found no direction to prefer
From the horizon no allure
And hesitated where he were

A little longer resting there
Inwardly to himself prepare
For taking that self otherwhere
One pair of slippers stayed in place
Not far before his dreaming face
Topped by a hem of finest lace

And as he raised his weary head
Saw a delicate hand instead
Offering a loaf of bread
Too famished, he, to wonder at
The circumstantial details that
This fragrant loaf had him begat

He took it and began to chew
And very good bread it was too
Eating it he swift stronger grew
Those slippers and that hem remained
In his locality restrained
Ingratitude had ever pained

His native sensibilities
And so he struggled to his knees
Then to his feet by slow degrees
And found himself looking into
Two eyes of Cerulean blue
That moment it was that he knew

His journey had come to its end
For never more did he intend
Aught longer than he must to spend
Away from those illumined eyes
Love came to him as a surprise
From one who ought to him despise

Nor even his poor presence see
In her august vicinity
So elegant and gracious be
That face, without one single flaw
Our tender lad in dawning awe
Coming to his full stature saw

When he at long last gained his feet
A brow as tender and as sweet
As the smile which then him greet
Such a delicate neck and chin
Must hold the voice of love within
Small nose which made his head to spin

And afterward commence to whirl
Around within each little curl
Aught motion of her head unfurl
Then, resting, furl back up again
The heart within our youthful swain
Beat so swift it near caused him pain

A hand inhabiting the glove
Her wondrous proximity of
With whom he fallen had in love
He never yet had been taught how
To execute a courtly bow
Be sure he did attempt one now

Though stiff and awkward surely seemed
Worthy attempt she must have deemed
Since forth the coveted smile gleamed
And when ’twas followed by her hand
With manner grave, and sweet, and grand
No heartstruck swain in all that land

Could happier than Jean Luc be
So happy that he felt that he
Must float, or fly, or weep, or flee
But, having now someone to please
Someone’s sweet mind and heart to ease
Our stricken swain did none of these

Instead he fixed her with a glance
Of iridescent radiance
Which did her in return entrance
Who’d thought she was but lending aid
By the act not much later made
For visits which she would have paid

That very afternoon, had not
She found what she’d unconscious sought
Found, too, those errands all forgot
As though they hadn’t ever been
Intended but to come between
The finest boy she’d ever seen

And her admiring eyes
Recovering from her surprise
His situation did apprise
The clothing ragged from much wear
The body transparently spare
Then took she him away from there

Where they had so recently met
Let him into her carr’iage get

Our Jean Luc never would forget
His first observance beauty of
Satin beneath and silk above
All patterned in the knots of love

And from its window, looking down
Upon the busy little town
Each till then terrifying frown
But harmless rendered by this height
Seemed all the weary world more bright
More filled with pleasure and delight

Than it had ever seemed before
When gazed on from his father’s door
His humble pallet on its floor
Replaced by her grand equippage
With prancing horses at each stage
By scurrying liveried page

Replaced entirely anew
The countryside more mellow grew
Than’t ever had when walking through
Stumbling on every rock and stone,
Each hardship, every danger known
So powerless and so alone

Where were the thorns, where was the dust?
Where the decisions make he must
On whom to trust and not to trust?
Long hills were topped with flying ease
Descending which did but increase
The world seemed solely made to please

The boy when that same morning bade
Little or no consequence had
Just one more ordinary lad
Began his transformation to
The man that he would grow into
Whom grace and ease and culture knew

And effortless command
It were as if the manor stand
In some far, very foreign land
The which she carried him unto
The door he passed, the hallway through
All so very completely new

To Jean Luc’s eyes and ears and nose
E’en from the simple soap arose
A fragrance like unto a rose!
Then there were carpets soft and sweet
Beneath his bony, callused feet
The noises of the common street

Could not penetrate the park
Which held her household in its arc
No wall unclad, no surface stark
But curves and carvings did it hold
Artisans’ laborings untold
So many wonders there unfold

To his fond and amazed eye
Viewed such rustic innocence by
For it would not be told a lie
If said we accustomed to such
Become used to it overmuch
Begin to view it as a crutch

Propping up our identities
Eventually not so pleased
By prevalent amenities
Which ordinary have become
Rememb’ring not that they have come
To us humble laborers from

Whom each, should he his story share
Would seem so full of bleak despair
Calm deprivation, dreary care
As dissuades a man to be
About his work aught cheerily
Remembering such stories we

Might grow some more apprec’iative
Of beauty in midst which we live
And service that such workmen give
Ignored by such as lofty he
Who but small imperfections see
The which welcome excuses be

To fret and to complain
In petulant jaded refrain
Participant in all the pain
Each needless puts the other through
Whom beauty as mere value view
Paying but lip service unto

Its truest, most ascendant role
Of inspiration for each soul
Which viewing it becomes more whole
By its intrinsic harmonies
Which cannot reach, so cannot please
But monetary value sees

Grasping alone sans love, sans friend
May upon “art” much money spend
But as a means unto an end
Purportedly to please the eye
But truly to those it espy
All access afterward deny

Its lack such lower minds to whip
By inference and poison quip
All in the name of ownership
All blessed popular mores by
Which elevate the coarse and sly
Yet castigate the lullabye

Meaninglessness in art prefer
Save what the viewer may confer
Upon each stark nonsequeter
Condoning sequestration of
Treasures many would love to love
Partaking inspiration of

At a higher level than
That which the ordinary man
Access such inspiration can
Thus never had our Jean-Luc been
To where such beauty might be seen
His unawakened senses keen

And eyes dilating with delight
He viewed th’apartments, full of light
Of graceful lines, of colors bright
Of cushions soft and welcoming
Nor lacking any little thing
Which might joy to the senses bring

Of they happily entered there
No surface left emptily bare
Which might instead be made to bear
Objects beautiful to the eye
Or mayhap on that surface lie
Fabric soft as a lullabye

And lovely as a lady when
She takes up her cosmetic pen
Her gown, her jewelry and then
Fashions herself into the most
Alluring date a man might boast
Of all the town to be the toast

Even the floors were wondrous to
Jean Luc’s fresh and uncluttered view
Parqueted patterns worked into
And polished to such glossy gleam
As made them more like mirrors seem
Then, painted ceilings reigned supreme

Which by the ancient gods were graced
Slim nymphs away from satyrs raced
All accidental came unlaced
And lovely ladies picnicked in
Their mostly unadorned skin
Whilst all around putti unpin

Banners of gauze ethereal
Proclaiming love delerial
Monogamous — but serial
In that time-blessed old fashioned sense
Blind to the little dalliance
Which true commitment but enhance

And twixt those floors and ceilings — where
Should he gaze first? Right over there
A living shoulder, picnic-bare
Posed against such a lovely wall
Too fine to grace a human hall
But must have been obtained withall

Somewhere beneath a fairy mound…
But wait — what was that wond’rous sound
Coming from somewhere near around?
Melodious, as when in youth
He’d heard such from his village booth
But rendered heavenly, forsooth

Its baser notes all resonant
Beneath a treble elegant
By some unknown instruments sent
Toward his ears all dulcet and
Refined in mellow serabande
Halted, our Jean Luc came to stand

Captured in wonder, very still
Amidst the brightly colored mill
As ’twere robbed of his motion’s will
Toward any locality
Further from that sweet melody
He found he could not bear to be

So smiling found they him a chair
Summoned a servant for his care
And all the evening left him there
Overwatched but quite alone
Enraptured by each cultured tone
Unlike any he’d ever known

Or even had imagined ‘ere
His lady’d found him in despair
Lifted him up, and brought him there
Surfeit bewild’ring beauty by
‘Twere all he could do not to cry
In his amaze, or dance, or die

Of overwhelming elegance
And unfamiliar decadence
Joy all but fatally intense
By starkest contrast overcome
The barrenness he’d started from
Refinement unto which he’d come

All happening so suddenly
He wondered if he fevered be
Or faint from hardship, so to see
His inner dreams without his eyes
As desp’rate hope despair belies
And thus a timely respite buys

From such a grim reality
As otherwise the soul might see
And incapacitated be
To summon further will to fight
Succumbing thus unto a blight
A bit more strength would put to flight

But harness as he might his will
To banish that melodic trill
It came unto his hearing still
Nor did its loveliness abate
He closed his eyes to concentrate
And then, the hour becoming late

And his exhaustion being deep
Such concentration could not keep
Our Jean-Luc swiftly fell asleep
And did not wake again till morn
But wakened then as one reborn
No more forsaken and forlorn

In some strange farmer’s storage croft
But cushioned deep in blankets soft
By feather mattress held aloft
Protected in a canopy
Decorated most pleasingly
Beyond its edges he could see

More sights equally wonderful
A basin and an ewer full
Clean tunic of the finest wool
And then the little table there
Of which he next became aware
Sent wond’rous smells into the air

From covered dishes thereupon
Yesterday’s tattered raiment gone
Today the rising of a dawn
Which spoke of better days begun
Of journey’s end, of battles won
Dared hope his wand’ring might be done

In such a gentle way commence
Jean’s period of residence
In his rescuer’s lofty manse
Saw her, at first, hardly at all
But found that at his slightest call
Seemingly out of some near wall

‘Ere he might even count to two
A serving maid hove into view
To see his every comfort to
Two sisters came most often so
And in their going to and fro
Were the first that he got to know

They in their mild and playful way
Took him under instructive sway
Ushering him into that day
He fairly sensed though held suspect
Instructing him to good effect
New social graces to perfect

In conversation pleasing and
Habituation to command
This unfamiliar wonderland
Along with polishing him they
Helped introduce a sense of play
Neglected in the harsher day

Of his early upbringing so
He calming pleasure come to know
Less conscious of survival grow
And more of every finer thing
Which easeful recreation bring
To those within its magic ring

Loosed from mere maintenance’ command
They took Jean Luc in cheerful hand
O how delightful, o how grand,
All other pleasures classed above!
They taught young Jean-Luc arts of love
Delightful variations of

He of an aesthetical bent
They two through life vigorous went
Inquiring little what it meant
While he instead gave lasting thought
To every circumstance it brought
And question with which it be fraught

He slender and ethereal
They roundly built and bountiful
He found them very beautiful
Although he did not lose his heart
But knew a destiny apart
For which anon he must depart

Their mistress, though, quite diff’rently
He felt his heart in keeping be
When her fair passage chanced to see
A woman lovely, graceful and
Gentle even in command
Of those who came beneath her hand

Voice ever kind and low and calm
As ’twere an auditory balm
Seemed to Jean-Luc a spoken psalm
Sung by an angel it must be
To conjure such felicity
He would have listened happily

To such a sound for hours on end
Did not his myst’ry-haloed friend
Ever past his her footsteps bend
On errands by himself unknown
First lady he had ever known
Left him too often all alone

Until one day he found a gift
Lying on his laundered shift
His tender spirits so to lift
And lift them sure enough it did
For peeking out, but half unhid
The creamy linen folds amid

Like some ultrasymmetric root
A vehicle for feelings mute:
A lovely, polished wooden flute!
From then on, though alone he be
He need not spend time silently
His flute now kept him company

As with the finest sort of friend
Never his passions need defend
But rather on it could depend
When they into it he expressed
To be not anywise distressed
Turned such round as became it best

Relaying to his list’ning ear
How genuine and how sincere
The pain which comes when one held dear
Keeps too far absent from our sight
Denying us the heart’s delight
Of seeing their eyes come alight

Amused by some small silly thing
We undertook a smile to bring
Or cherished laughter hoped to wring
From prior melancholy mood
By bringing a small gift of food
Or poem to her looks allude

Her mind, elastic and abstruse
(Oh, she can find but small excuse
When he poetry puts to use
To leave him so forlornly there
Without the softness of her hair
To comfort him in his despair

For sure any elsewhere he go
May only thorns and thistles know
Bereft her aura’s golden glow
Description of will then commence
As much as she can countenance
Nor tell her swain to get him hence

Perchance to tell some other lie
To the next damsel he espy
Who might believe him — he should try!)
Jean sounded out the melodies
In childhood charmed by ‘neath the trees
And when he’d all but mastered these

Created new ones from his own
Myster’ious soul, each single tone
Though lovely when played all alone
Sounded together with the rest
Exceeded all its former best
Transformed at melody’s behest

To something even greater yet
Into which, like jewels set,
Outward their enhanced light to let
Translucent and magnificent
Mystical and luxuriant
Glorious and significant

Into receiving eyes to pour
Colors which pierce us to our core
Where but white light had been before,
So, strung together, every note
Did some emotion deep denote
Together passionate emote

Those feelings everyone has had
From grandmother to stalwart dad
To every small apprentice lad
Told to Jean-Luc as thenceward came
By more tellers than he could name:
At deep heart we are all the same

All full of hope in native state
Until our fellow man frustrate
Our open hearts and visions great
By which we all discouraged grow
Happy when we live as we know
Is good and upright, even though

Takes us betimes to dark surround
Nor lifts us off the common ground
We have contentment surely found
Unburdened by what we possess
Whence real regret cannot confess:
We feel the need to gather less

In treasuring our present store
Intent upon admiring more
The silver wave on golden shore
Pearlescent underwater life
Rather before than afterlife
Grateful for husband or for wife

We all alike have discontent
When by our actions harm is meant
Malicious meditations bent
Upon our brothers bend again
Bringing back to their sender pain
In an increasing sad refrain

This truth with the observer stays:
Going our seeming sep’rate ways
Vastly similar are our days
And in the nights there is no doubt
When let our inner thinking out
To see what it hath been about

We see, unless completely blind
Each man hath those same thoughts in mind
Which knowledge should make us more kind
It was such universal thought
And feeling that young Jean Luc wrought
Upon the flute he had been brought

One morning after playing he
Took from his lips reluctantly
His precious flute — whom did he see
Standing a near arras behind
But his dear lady, looking kind
As though to speak to him inclined

She could not seem to right away
Speak that she seemed to wish to say
Her silence did a tribute pay
To the beauty of his flute
Then, when she could, quotha “Forsooth,
We must provide you with a lute!”

And so a lute for him was bought
And, too, a man by whom was taught
Musical secrets he’d long sought
One with unusual appeal
Evanescence subtle but real
For whom Jean came respect to feel

And he in turn the joys to know
Of watching such a talent grow
Knew that at last must let him go
To meet the need such innate skill
Was clearly destined to fulfill
Those jobs which only music will

Have hope of e’er accomplishing
Sorrow from which no other thing
May ever hope to take the sting
And how to celebrate without
Some melody amid the rout
To which the heart may hop about?

As Jean Luc’s skill grew much apace
She brought him more oft to her space
He learned a genteel room to grace
With all of the refinements then
Required of a gentleman
In formal ages ‘way back when’

An’ he sufficient polished been
In company fit to be seen
She and a friend took him between
Their perfumed selves, saw him attired
Then to a hidden wing retired
Where found all he could have desired

Of true sensory luxury
No spindly guest chairs here there be
But cushions thrown haphazardly
Upon rugs scented with perfume
Nor excess happiness nor gloom
Marred the demeanor of that room

Behind its arras music play
As ‘gainst those cushions each guest lay
Listing what others had to say
Without constraints society
Outside its confines doth agree
Must make respectability

The generations were as one
Once conversation had begun
All welcome to join in the fun
Of magic possibilities
Each contribution all well please
Nor strained society appease

With measures of a person’s worth
Remembrance status of, or birth
Or influence at total dirth
Among this folk exceptional
So foolish or so wonderful
They artificial blocks annul

And meet each other heart to heart
Make moments ornamental art
Of practicality yet part
Communion lofty in design
But with intention so benign
As in such we too often find

Indicative of id’iocy
Think only fools speak gen’uinely
‘Thout glancing o’er the shoulder, see
Whether self int’rest make some change
In their convictions’ vocal range
Former beliefs now rearrange

The ladies gave Jean Luc into
The care of one hov’ring in view
At first glance both these young men knew
That each would be the other’s friend
Their souls seemed instantly to blend
And would remain so to the end

“The Court of Love is what we call
The gathering within this hall
And many others like, withall
Across the breadth of this fair land
Which would dismiss us out of hand
Or worse insist that we disband

If it were half suspected by
Those who love’s primacy deny
Hold its existence as a lie
Those who practice it dangerous
Allowed among the rest of us
(True happiness might cause a fuss)”

The young man said, turning to Jean
“You must have questions hereupon
But ask — you have my answers won!”
And so Jean Luc to manhood came
Among those he might never name
Both wise and beautiful became

As time turned him into a man
The teacher of the lute began
To know his pupil better than
He could in twenty lifetimes teach
Observed his acolyte to reach
That calm a crowd cannot impeach

That presence makes the music say
What may be said no other way
Each heart in company to sway
In a direction for its good
Effect on them from change of mood
And future works from it ensued

Took he Jean Luc aside one day
And told him he’d be soon away
And would miss hearing Jean Luc play
But that regretful sorrow less
For memories melodic bless
His later life with gentleness

Said, “You farewell will also say
To this place soon, and go your way
Though hard to credit what I say
You’ve always listened carefully
As flattering has been to me
When I told you of truths I see”

Jean Luc replied, “I listened well
For you ever had truths to tell
As my attention did impel
And never failed the time would come
I saw them very real become
And thought where I’d first heard them from

But tell me, though I do believe,
Wherefore that I should wish to leave
This home my every sense relieve
These hearts which understand my own
Friends of whom I’ve enamoured grown
Ladies on me their brightness shone?”

His teachers glance was pitying
But in his voice certainty ring
“This house, this town, this everything
Soon will disaster subjugate
Details I’ll not enumerate
But only essence briefly state

There will be plague a year before
Reduce the populace by more
Than one new dead in every four
Commerce will of a sudden halt
Folks on each other place the fault
Dim sects strange practices exalt

The needs of life will scarce become
The strong will take those weaker from
The tocsin bell and solemn drum
Through these starved streets be heard with dread
To all in hearing sadly said
“Bring out your dead… Bring out your dead…”

The common folk then pillage will
Mothers in children theft instill
Naught remain in most households’ till
Though every day from dawn till dark
They think of nothing but more work
To banish wolves at doorway lurk

When all the country’s wild it be
Other lands test the tides to see
If wars of conquest likely be
When they an opening perceive
No force that doomed land will relieve
It will be then this place receive

The fullest measure of God’s ire
Before a score of months expire
Each store and storehouse, home and byre
Been overrun enemies by
Attempt you might to linger by
Naught then familiar meet your eye

It is a better time to go
When leavetakings both soft and slow
May live in mem’ry’s happy glow
When in such circumstance begin
Calm attitude, nor head a-spin
Far better so than chaos in”

Then where,” Jean asked, “am I to go?
I have no skill with axe or bow
For music is the craft I know”
His teacher, glad he argued not
As by his words survival bought
“I have,” he said, “given it thought…

There places be construction of
Enormous churches built for love
Whose towers top the clouds above
With windows formed to best delight
The spirit, eye and heart with light
Melody plays there clear and bright

The kind of love we celebrate
Seeks to a finer world create
To which all may someday relate;
That which is served those buildings in
Seeks to make all mankind one kin
Leaving no spirit sorrow in

Our reach is for a future sky
Theirs for the souls most troubled try
To’ard rising sun we seek to fly
They at its set to see each head
Find slumber in protected bed
And empty stomach somewhat fed

Both these endeavors needed be
Within the the human family
As times change, so a change we see
In the shifting prominence
Within this dual eminence
Under new circumstance commence

In such chaotic times as we,
Wish it or not, are soon to see
This other striving may well be
That sort which will be needed more
To functionality restore
Than it hath been heretofore

These lofty structures are designed
So that the hated and maligned
May have a place both safe and kind
In life’s sadness for comfort go —
Their future uses we’ll not know
Such not given us here below

Where they’re built, workers may not fight
Nor stone receive the chisel’s bite
Unless out of hearing and sight
The space they labor to create
New structured walls ne’er resonate
With wavelengths of low human hate

In place of harsh construction’s din
They seek vibration to begin
This, Jean Luc, is where you fit in
For each employs music as well
Cast harmony as ’twere a spell
The hearts of men and stones to swell…”

As lithe and spry as any swain
No trace of boyhood now remain
Afoot — hath traveled so before
With peace behind and hope afore
Turned to’ard the north of France once more


Among us, poets are ill paid. In order to continue her work, this one currently lives in her minivan, on an income of a fraction of our nation’s poverty level. If her work has moved, enabled or uplifted you, a contribution to this effort may be made at:



Published by Ana Daksina

Read worldwide one million times, Ana Daksina is a Troubador of the coming age.

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