Concert At South Creake Church
by Bob Ward

    Janacek, String Quartet no.2, “Intimate Letters”

Overhead soar gaudy presences
  past being targets for God’s marksmen
  in that iconoclastic civil war
  but now restored to glory, wooden
  angels brace for hallelujahs
  wrested from them only by a prayer.

Down here a quartet storms the pews
  with passionate playing from a score
  where quavers crunch against the staves
  hurled by an old man desperate for love.
Then at the close of an adagio
  the ‘cellist keens a fading note . . .

Her pale arm lifts the bow as if
  seeking to extend a precious peaceful
  silent space absorbing sorrows
  recollected without bitterness before
  she must plunge into the still unbroken
  surface of the music yet to come.

Look up! Fluttering in the roof: no
  not the angels broaching upon life
  but bats whirling in a sombre flight,
  virtuosi in a world we’ll never hear,
  so the silence holds, the audience
  stays drawn into a momentary peace,

  as consummation in that calm between
  the raised arm, bow and silent strings
  where music culminates for pilgrim souls
  in finding blessèd rapture in repose,
  where angels bravely choke back memories
  while bats perfect their sonic mastery.