Windsong: Grand Opera
The first strains of the overture
Intrudes on the calm of normalcy.
Several measures of gentle breeze
Slowly crescendo into true wind.
The key and rhythm suddenly change,
Then revert to the original.
In each cycle, the gusts of sound are
The mood darkens and the pace quickens,
Angry winds whip and saw–
Spring storms spawning tornadoes,
Winter’s Nor’easters and blizzards,
Tropical cyclones of summer and early fall.
The music in these angry winds sounds like
Cries of anguish, brokenness, unleashed fury.
The overture climaxes as a howl
Or dissonant intermingling of howls.
Act I opens with the tenor’s lament,
Raising an alarm that is already too late.
Chastising the foolishness of
Windows not boarded,
Supplies not stored,
Harbors not secured,
Plans not made,
Escape no longer possible.
The alto emerges with a solemn, dirge-like chant
That drones on as foundation
Upon which the tenor can build
His cold and biting recitatives.
The alto’s chant grows in presence and power
At the very bottom of her range, much lower than the tenor
Whose howls soar to ever greater heights.
Act I closes with a chorus of second altos
Thrumming as power lines or lanyards in a gale,
The single tenor slicing through the thrum
With what might be either warning siren or
Or the tell-tale sound of deadly winds.
In Act II, the soprano’s voice strikes like lightning on the ear.
Spotlights flash as she moves quickly
From stage right to stage left, never in the same place more than once.
The bass soon thunders into the fray.
They argue as to who is more frightening,
Sound or light?
At first, thunder follows lightning.
The bass answers the soprano’s first note
After several full measures.
But soon his voice echoes after a half rest.
In four more measures the delay is a quarter rest.
Soon just an eighth rest, a sixteenth.
As the storm mounts, chaos ensues.
Their responses are immediate and devastating.
The curtain rises on Act III with the four soloists and chorus
Singing in a double fortissimo unison.
The sound is
No single voice can be recognized.
All that is is wind...
Essentially dissonance, yet complex harmonies emerge,
Beginning with all four voices
Supported by the alto chorus.
Then three voices of different combinations
Sing of desolation and grief.
The chorus retreats offstage, beginning a chant of grief-seeking hope.
Then two voices start conversations
Of condolence and new beginnings.
Then the tenor alone sings of sun and calm and hope.
The curtain falls as wind has subsided to whispers,
The whispers of stagehands
Picking up the pieces of lives torn apart.
The audience departs, echoing the whispers,
Whispers reminding fellow travelers
Not to be so foolish as to ignore the wind song.
Full-ness of Time
It seems profoundly silly to think
that time could be more full,
for even our most empty of times
are filled with fears or dreams or
unbidden bits of conscious and
This ness, the essence of nightmare and
daydream, lingering in the lengths and
depths of time is a promise of a fullness;
not completeness (for if finished, time
would cease to be time), and not merely the
absence of time, which is equally nonsensical.
It would be a fullness, a time when
time is no longer of the essence, but is
content to be the context, the box in
which the gift is held, gathered, born;
a gift that transcends time and thus is
full of whatever the gift is to be, or was,
or is, often and usually at the same time.
But there I go speaking of time again, the
fullness left to wonder.
Let us hope...
Shadows play with the mind,
not just the eyes, and often
play unfairly, seizing on
lifespan to set the scene,
to filter the present subtle shading
of uneven flesh through
bruises of clumsiness and cruelty;
cuts, deep and superficial;
blunt trauma and gifted surgery;
sun-scorch and wind-blow;
running mascara at the whim of
unbidden tears; smudges from
chocolate-laced fingers so much
like yours, only so much smaller;
masks, contrived and mandated –
shade upon shade, around curves,
transcending those spots of age
and crackling skin, or not, if
the span is yet short and the shadows
only the play of light on the eyes.