No service today: the carved portals of the west facade are barred. One enters the cathedral by a small side door. In dim cool sanctuary, the traveler rests on a hard, hospitable bench. Sunshaft traverses the loft, the organist's white head, bowed in a moment's repose... the practice resumes slowly, digressively

the organ's many voices

distant, antiphonal

through transept ... baptistry ...

cloister ...

the fugue's crescendo

accumulating force

engulfs the nave ... the organist now wholly engaged, the frail body's resilience feet and hands racing the traveler forgetting shrill commere of marketplace, stifling city streets, forgetting why he came in as Bach's titanic voice

fans out, fills the cathedral,

soars gothic to the ultimate arches,

with final spate of chords

in profound silence


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