At the Victoria & Albert Museum
Two little girls, both about four,
play in the courtyard’s shallow pond.
The day is warm. They run and splash
in unselfconscious delight.
I have seen such abandonment before
in a great violinist playing Beethoven’s concerto.
I have watched as she was lifted
and then carried away
on the tide of the orchestra.
I saw her surrender to the music,
as if she was a mere instrument
and the orchestra a single entity
chosen for that moment
to transmit wrought transcendence
in all its complex, shifting moods.
The concerto I hear this day is different.
As I watch and listen
I am moved by this question:
in all the marbled stillness inside the museum,
all the carefully re-created rooms,
all the beautiful costumes
from eras long since gone
and all the exquisitely designed rugs
hanging quietly on walls,
is that any greater beauty
than this which I observe
in these two little virtuosos
improvising on their single theme
in a way that requires no rehearsal,
only the abandonment found
in the very young or in great artists,
whilst an orchestra of blue sky, water,
sunlit grass, light on skin and hair,
splash of colour and ripple of laughter
plays in beauty-saturated accompaniment?
Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama has made him intensely aware of how opportunity is unequally proportioned. His work reflects strong interest in social justice, indigenous issues, the environment and relationships. His poetry has appeared in many places, both online and in hard-copy. He is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual and his chapbook, “Earth Music”, has been accepted for publication by Praxis Magazine Online.
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