A lyre sat in the sun
and played itself

Harps all over the world began to

leaned up against corners in Latino Tavernas
covered up on buses heading for

major city performances

long forgotten on a shelf of some
ex-Orpheus startling him from his nap

strings from top to bottom and from
the middle outward in both directions

began to vibrate tonally making an
unsettling music both rare and strange

Jungle harps scattered bats

Music Shop harps made snare drums

One harp left in a desert attracted a
long-eared fox

A clown’s harp made him laugh after
fifteen years of taking his sad face

for his own

One small harp covered with dust
made mice dance

All their musics from Cambodia to
Connecticut began expanding until they

overlapped creating a vertical veil of
sound in which we all find ourselves

mesmerizedly enmeshed

And I haven’t even begun to enumerate those
famous harps we’re either

all supposed to play if we do enter
Paradise or will eventually tire of just

walking around in flowing togas
strumming forever

which may be why so
few are attracted to make the

effort to go there

when in fact it’s nothing at all like that

Those harps have strings each one of which is
miles wide

played on shimmering instruments of
galactic proportions

each strum of which vibrates worlds into
existence their wise populations enter singing

to penetrate unheard-of
adventures of immediate and unfathomable


as another strum
opens new worlds into valleys and

rolling landscapes extending father than either

eye or ear can see or hear
that multiply amazements in

latitudes of light years and
interstellar radiances

but paralleled down below by
hell-harps plucked by saw-like

fingers as disembodied as hell’s hot denizens themselves
forced to hear cacophonous notes held for

millennial durations making
tectonic plates shift and seas disgorge both

shipwrecks and whales pleading for mercy

Oh harmonious and disharmonious harps
in uneasy concord

in whose reverberations we see our
original faces liberated and

sent across earth as sweet messengers
or trapped as imprisoned poignancies

who never quite
either in earth or heaven

learned how to sing

6/2/2011 (from This Light Slants Upward)

Categories: Poems