12-4 Handel

At 3 p.m. I’ll sing bass in Winston-Salem’s 84th community chorus-orchestra performance of Messiah. Some time ago, this inspired the following. His bio is interesting–how he was at the top of composing operas but fell out of favor and became destitute.


Midnight August 1741


A music sheet was barren as a skeleton

on a table by his piano, curling in humidity.


Tonight, sweat dribbled down his nose

and he flicked it with his quill pen,

watched it arc in candlelight and splat on

scraps of lyrics on the floor.


He glanced at an Isaiah passage penned on paper

and heard a voice singing across the ages

Comfort ye my people. Then Messiah’s words

The trumpet will sound pierced his mind

With a piccolo trumpet prelude.


Lyrics and harmonies and violins and woodwinds

began swirling like eddies in the Thames

as he felt a river of blackest ink


burst through his melancholy


and he dipped his pen


to scribble the first note.