Hey, they’re playing your music on the radio!
The brocade notes vibrate out into the living room
With its worn-out second-hand couch and its ugly lamps.
A whole raft of recorders chirps like a flock of birds in a willow tree,
A harpsichord twinkles like sunlight on a rippling stream,
A cello hums thoughtfully,
A lute is confidently plucked.
Some kind of little drum teases our feet
To start tapping out imagined antique dance steps
That require those shoes with long pointy toes curled up
Or an elegant velvet skirt,
And every now and then a tiny bell waves its magic wand over the notes.
Yes, the music blooms today in this modern living room
Like a wildflower reproducing itself unchanged
Despite its passage through the years,
As fresh as when it bloomed for you hundreds of years ago,
The first time musicians breathed life into it.
Everything else from that day is lost:
The smell of the air in the building,
The quality of the light sliding along the violin bows,
The dance everyone actually did,
What they said about your new music,
The interplay of unrecorded manners, or the lack of manners,
The ephemeral slang,
The little jokes of the moment, if people let themselves joke,
What was served for dinner,
How they really felt about the luxury of power
And the sea of peasants out there...
Everything is lost but the music,
Which is still as fresh in this incarnation as it ever was,
Seeding itself into the future
For as long as there are musicians
Who can play the sackbut.
Now that hilarious crumhorn joins in
Like a giant bumblebee holding its nose,
Inviting us to jump up from the couch,
Usurp the noble privilege,
Prance around the coffee table in those pointy shoes,
Really make that velvet skirt fly.