Poetry Fiction Issue

Sing-Along Messiah, Disney Hall

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The rosewood organ pipes, two stories tall,
Are skewed according to the architect’s
Taste for the mischievous diagonal;
Better this giant’s game of pickup sticks,
He seems to tell us, than the sturdily
Hierarchical ensemble in the church
Where the composer made these burgherly
Chorales in celebration of the birth
Of a redeemer perched upon a throne
At the same altitude from which the choir
Would pour down on the silent congregation
Their expert harmonies. These volunteers
Who launch themselves into the “Comfort ye,”
Following in the scores they brought from home,
Produce the less angelic harmony
Of singers comforting themselves alone.

Adam Kirsch is the author of The Thousand Wells: Poems and The Wounded Surgeon: Confession and Transformation in Six American Poets. He lives in New York.
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