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Cathedral Organ

by Poet in Residence, Julia McGuinness

 
It idles, a youth on a street corner,
waiting for the future to show up.
Shifting tones in sequences
that meander without resolve.
It deceives the ear with anticipation,
promises half-remembered songs,
then wanders off in elastic phrases,
anthem that could snap to silence
at the arrival of bride or coffin.

Notes drift through the open door,
sing to a city reclaiming itself
after months against a backdrop
of birdsong and anxiety.
Street queues line up rigid as pipes,
each silent, uneasy body
a unique pitch in waiting.
Inside, pillars stand patient
down centuries of social distancing.

The organ gossips towards closing time
joy of all stops pulled out in lockdown.
We bear the echoes of its music
of waiting, wonder if we will know
the refrain of future’s tune,
like the leap of a lost dog
at the sound of its owner’s voice,
like words rising from the heart,
like the things we had nearly forgotten we missed.