Notes to Verse
TWO MOVEMENTS FOR AN ALLEGRETTO
Beethoven, Symphony No. 7
That dip in existence, that hollow, that falling off place, cliff or abyss
where silence waits, lurks, hovers, beneath world, beneath sense;
that barren of stillness, hugely inert, waiting for us to surrender again,
give over our hardly heard mewling and braying to its implacable craw.
But now, abruptly, seemingly too from falling place, void or abyss,
the first chord, then, extruded from it yet somehow bringing with it
the silence behind it, come theme, counter theme, both keeping in them
the threat of reversion, regression, relapse back to devouring silence,
yet keeping us in them as well, so our dread of that vastness is calmed,
and we can respond, as though we’d been created, evolved to respond.
That tangle, that weaving, that complicating in music and mind;
that counterpoint spun like a nest of filament, lichen and down;
that magical no-longer-silence which takes us, is with us, is in us;
the roar of logic and the baying of our needs and desires all stilled,
and silence again is that hallowed place in the kingdom of being
where one note can change to the next, one key to another;
and in that shimmer we’re brought back to the first theme of silence,
but danced now, fugued now, ecstatically transfigured and vanquished,
so we can return to the primal chord that began this, begat this,
and brings this all to its end; this exaltation, this splendor, this bliss.
—C. K. Williams