A poet hears the divine tone through the world's din.


Listen and you'll hear a strain of music
behind the yellow tape at Virginia Tech,
on Baghdad's streets, and throughout
the Darfur region. Senseless acts dampen not
its sweet tones of resolve. Heroic events
by ordinary people syncopate the symphony.
A Holocaust survivor loses his own life
but saves his students'. A soldier
cradles an orphan toddler to sleep.
A child refugee, stripped of possessions,
hands three white cloths for turbans
to filmmakers telling his story,
"You'll need this to keep out the dust
and sand in Darfur."(1) In the heart,
a purer view of mankind emerges
where "there are, it may be,
so many kinds of voices in the world,
and none of them is without signification."(2)


Somewhere, one lone "A,"
in the resonant nasal tone of the oboe,
penetrates a concert hall's silence.
Purest of all, the oboe "A" sets the tone
for the whole orchestra to follow.
Clarinets, flutes, and bassoons
slide into unison. The brass
instruments bluster their "A"s
to the last row of the concert hall.
Then, the concertmaster tunes
her strings before signaling the rest
of the string section to join. Soon,
every instrument's voice is ready.
The conductor lifts his baton
and the instruments rhapsodize
Copeland, Gershwin, or Beethoven,
each in its own time, tone, and harmony.


In the din of chaos, we hardly imagine
that God's orchestra can be in tune.
During tragedies and war, dissonance
fosters no hope. Yet, honest tones emerge,
revealing man's higher nature. Christ's
universal voice forever resonates in perfect "A" –
pure, sonorous, worthy of emulation.
The concertmaster, like disciples of our day,
achieves her note at the tip of her bow.
Then encourages all like-minded to join.
As God's instruments, you and I possess
that perfect "A" within us. Like an orchestra,
unity engenders strength and beauty. Listen
and you'll hear many kinds of voices in the world,
aligned in harmony, and none without signification.

1 Jen Marlowe, Aisha Bain, Adam Shapiro, Paul Rusesabagina, Darfur Diaries: "Stories of Survival," p. 58.

2 I Cor 14:10.

April is National Poetry Month in the United States.

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