They try, the living, our finest luthiers,
and still they cannot touch the old masters
whose seasoned violins they x-ray,
tap and measure, powerless to break
the silence, the code that is no one
thing, just as music is no one alone.
Take this curve, this sap, this finish, this dark
carve beneath the trembling of the arch,
this box no larger than a child’s coffin.
Take this shade we lay our flowers in.
Is it any less than all that will not
let us sleep, all that dies the moment
we would name it. No death for you, listener.
You whom the music has no word for.
Bruce Bond is the author of fourteen books including five forthcoming: Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (University of Michigan Press), For the Lost Cathedral (LSU Press), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, University of Tampa Press), Sacrum (Four Way Books), and The Other Sky (Etruscan Press). Presently he is Regents Professor at University of North Texas.