A Harmony, With Stars

The tune at first is odd, though still familiar.
It asks and answers, as you hear
the children playing it on their thin recorders,
over and over, in the afternoon,
through breath and error, with the huge blue day
hovering overhead. The house dozes,
and guests asleep — uncles, grandmothers, cousins —
accept it easily into their dreams
(like repetitions of the same cool breeze)
and smile. The notes, brief moths among the roses,
falter but do not fall. A wind passes,
and then, the tune again, the first phrase firm,
the second wavering and fanciful,
the last settling, as the air falls still.
Later, at night, its counterpoint —
the family after dinner, lifting down
instruments from the walls, and their huge shadows
huddled, bending together as candle flames
waver with the first inquiring chord.
Uncles, cousins, friends—they yield to the air
subscribed by strings and clarity of the oboe,
comment of cello, emphasis of drum.
The children turn in dream upstairs, drowning
through waves that widen from their own small music —
heartheat and breath, the fanciful lift of fiddles,
the falling arm, the last cool phrase, falling.
Shadows pause in their place. Outside,
the garden breathes beneath suspended stars.
This is true ceremony, and in this tune
turn families, passions, histories, planets, all.