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A melodic trumpet—

baptizing with grace notes—

envelops the faithful

but sounds like fortissimo dissonance

to an unbeliever, as it swings

as low as is allowed without

purgatory’s repelling,

and likewise, the trombone—

with its glissando and its lack of

fermata—is misunderstood,

but if, however,

a repentant soul bows down—

deferring in an act of obedience

or that of inconsequential

love spirito sostenuto—

.

the jazz will reveal its own truth

in a night of resplendent awe.

.

first published in Southern Hum

“Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what everyone seems to admire, I would really begin to live after all.”

 

From No Man is an Island by Thomas Merton  San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, Inc. 1955), page 126.

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