Until sent stepping down the pedals—scalar,
My feet were not sure of their footing here
But then, at once, my most pressing fear
Became naught but a small organ failure!
And once my frigid fingers found their note
I settled into newfound harmony
In a choir which turned much-loved company
And rendered far-off home not so remote.
But now, removed, another organ aches
To think of all I confess lies undone;
Not of my choosing, my heart once more breaks
—It beats the time of old chorales and makes
Pretend that there are present more than one—
Alone, though, none can hear its sad mistakes.
A small explanation:
I once wrote on my personal philosophy of “Theme and Variations,” the idea that I must identify the small things which make me feel at home, no matter where I may be. When I moved to California, it was finding a little church where I could play music. In Scotland, it was finding a church organist position.
Now, back home in Arizona, I am ironically feeling more displaced than ever. Yet again, though, an organist position came along to make me feel at least partly settled, partly useful and hopeful. Even as I auditioned for this new post, though, I could not help but think back on the one left unfinished, left behind sadly and suddenly in the impending wake of the COVID-19 crisis.