Chamber Musicians Also Wash the Dishes, Check the Mail

The mystery of music. This time of year it surrounds us. But then again it can always surround us. Let’s let it.


Chamber Musicians also Wash the Dishes, Check the Mail

But now the chamber musicians are
just past halfway in Glazunov’s Elegy,

the part where in rehearsal they stopped.
“It feels as if I’m behind.” “I don’t think

so. I think I’m ahead.” When I listened
all I heard was a whole note held

in the third movement of a symphony
by Tinnitus, all I felt was the wax waning

onto the timpani of my ear drum.
Next comes another elegy, this by Suk,

Suk who was fifteen when he wrote its
sorrow-filled walk through what he did

not yet know. The chamber musicians
know. They carry elegy in their fingers.

They open the world on the other side
of every note and let us breathe

within the haunting space between each
touch of key and pull of bow. They believe

heaven is between the stars, music
in the empty sleeve of the one-armed man.

–Jack Ridl



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25 thoughts on “Chamber Musicians Also Wash the Dishes, Check the Mail

  1. As a child, I HATED poetry………not something I could say out loud being a granddaughter of an English professor and the daughter of an English major. As a student of your English 113 class, I tolerated poetry. I’m still not a fan, but for some reason I REALLY enjoy yours. And as I read them, I can hear your voice reading to me……….and I’m finding myself looking forward to the next one. If given the choice between listening to chamber music or listening to poetry, I would probably still choose chamber music, but poetry is gaining. Fly the W! Sue Carlson

    • Ahhhhh dear Sue. What a delight, your message is! Yes, you toughed out those poems in 113!
      I know no fans of poetry. One turns to such when most else fails to comfort.
      When I read with the musicians at the Chamber Music Festival, I realized that I had never bowed that much in my life! : )
      So good to be with you again this way.
      May the Merry of Christmas be ever with ya

  2. Jack, thank you for the music….here is some for you….a blast from 2010, Mitch and Max….. Season’s love to you and Julie…. All the best, Ginny

  3. Hi Jack, I was inspired to listen to Glazunov and Suk, however, what I could use are a couple of chamber musicians who also shovel snow…blessings, bill h

    • What???? You don’t have ’em? Ours come by as soon as
      the storm starts! Suk was from Bohemia. That’s where
      Dad’s family was from. Had to have that allusion in

  4. Jack, love this! Especially the line, “heaven is between the stars” and “music in the empty sleeve of the one armed man”. Didn’t quote it exactly but you will know. Blessings to you and your lady fair. I happened to see Joy Oyler at a Presbytery meeting on Tuesday and was impressed with her blue/green hair!!! Hallelujah!

  5. i love that: heaven is between the stars. so true. i use more empty space when i play than ever. the beauty is between the notes. thank you, so much!.love-john

  6. ah, my weekly dose of beauty & performance reality = so much more insanely mundane than lay-people can imagine 😉 thank you! L

    • I hope you enjoy them, Susan. It was a joy to do a reading with the musicians–and bow—–bow a lot. Goodness, they bow and bow and bow.

  7. Sidebar: It’s easier to read your poetry than it is to listen to Glaz-suk-unov (sounds like Gadzooks) and company…Blessings, bill h

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