The Gospel of Music

You have to thank the great beyond
if your child delights in birdsong,
especially a chorus of it
a dizzy crowd of birds singing—
warbles, chits, and caws ringing
through the sanctuary of the woods.
Although I heard the birds myself,
it was the little one who pointed
her finger to the budding trees
and pronounced the word she has for music,
composed of a pair of syllables
both beginning vaguely with Y,
with emphasis rightly on the first.
It happens also to be the word
she has for donkey and the plural
of donkey. And it’s also the word
she says regarding the photograph
of an old-time banjo player
she sees at suppertime. She sees
the sound of a silent instrument,
and that’s the true Gospel of Music.
In the beginning was the word,
and the word was music and birds and donkeys,
and God was a serious banjo-player
with an inscrutable face, who said
to everything alive, I made
the world for singing. Now, you sing.

Maurice Manning

Maurice Manning

Maurice Manning's most recent book is One Man's Dark.  His next book, Railsplitter, will be published in 2019.  He teaches at Transylvania University and lives with his family in Kentucky. (Photo credit: Steve Cody.)
Maurice Manning

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Author: Maurice Manning

Maurice Manning's most recent book is One Man's Dark.  His next book, Railsplitter, will be published in 2019.  He teaches at Transylvania University and lives with his family in Kentucky. (Photo credit: Steve Cody.)