I Hear the Distant Music
The midnight bells toll languidly—their sequence slightly varied
to tell the stories of the hours—or those soon to be buried.
Behind them swells the music of a local band.
On the platform in the plaza, for hours more they’ll stand
pumping out their music to the crowds who gather there.
After their days of heavy labor, these hours are without care.
The oom pah pah of distant music stirs my curtains like the wind—
the notes, first stiffly marching, change their minds to dip and bend.
The banda tunes a bit off-key, loud in their origin,
by the time they lift to me are strained out soft and thin.
Living miles above the town, I’m spared soreness of ears
as from assonant cacophony, the music shifts its gears.
What I hear is joyfulness far into the night.
The music meant to call to action releases its bite
and becomes a happy background as I slip into dreams.
Others have not given up on the day it seems.
Behind my lids I see them–lovers in their clenches,
grandmothers slowly nodding as they watch them from the benches.
It may be that daylight hours are for labor and for strife,
but far into the the morning hours, the village lives its life
in the night-shadowed plaza, far below where I
shift upon my pillow, content to simply lie
listening to the village—all the stories that it tells.
The laughter and the music and the tolling of the bells.
(In Mexico, church bells are a sort of village clock. They toll the hour, half-hour and quarter-hour, but also announce church services and deaths.)
Today’s word was “distant.”