Making the Same Motley / American Music


At the Store 


Clumps of daffodils along the storefront
bend low this morning, late snow
pushing their bright heads down.
The flag snaps and tugs at the pole
beside the door.


The old freezer, full of Maine blueberries
and breaded scallops, mumbles along.
A box of fresh bananas on the floor,
luminous and exotic…
I take what I need from the narrow aisles.


Cousins arrive like themes and variations.
Ansel leans on the counter,
remembering other late spring snows,
the blue snow of ‘32:
Yes, it was, it was blue.
Forrest comes and goes quickly
with a length of stovepipe, telling
about the neighbors’ chimney fire.


The store is a bandstand. All our voices
sound from it, making the same motley
American music Ives heard;
this piece starting quietly,
with the repeated clink of a flagpole
pulley in the doorway of a country store.


~ Jane Kenyon from Otherwise

How was your 4th of July weekend? I hope you had a good one. We had a crazy busy weekend of concerts, almost one every night, and two on July 4th. One of the concerts we played was in an outdoor amphitheater at Lake Dillon, and it was a party – American flags tucked into the scrolls of cellos and basses, tucked into sunglasses, and placed in the ends of flutes. And even though it was a little overwhelming, and I don’t think I want to play Battle Hymn of the Republic ever again, I have to say that the concert really was very special. During “God Bless America,” the entire crowd stood up, cheering and singing and waving red, white, and blue, and I thought how wonderful, that music can do this, that “all our voices sound from it,” that I had the chance to be a part of the experience. From me to you, Happy Independence Day!




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