Imagine being tone deaf
to what everyone else can hear--
he's standing on stage
in front of an orchestra
rehearsing a symphony.
The orchestra soldiers on,
though his cues are wrong,
and he's out of touch.
When they fail to follow,
he flies into a rage.

He threatens to tear up
the stage, break instruments,
rip sheet music to shreds,
topple music stands—
king of the stage at last.

In my fond wish he flees
at the performance,
banished by the audience
that listens in the way of all audiences,
in recognition and surprise,
following the golden thread of pleasure
wending its way through rills and valleys.
Behind each melody, a fainter melody—

music is time outside of time.
One moment, ever remembered,
is never lost, while always lost,
like sunlight on a flowing stream.
This is the paradox,
the crux of art.

The winds blow warm, and sigh, and cease;
summer comes, the sun is full and rich,
and the music seems to go on by itself.
The audience's response
touches us like sunlight.
It dances on my sleeve and bow;
I feel and know it
and keep on playing.