An Advent Poem

Empty, the sanctuary waits beneath a tree, beneath a cross— the branches a burden and trough to bear body and newborn king. White wails of a storm without are vespers whispered warm within, And yet echo infant, age-old cry — of beginning and of end. In the lonely silence, all is dead, yet all holds living…

Dear Mr. Dickens: An Open Letter

My dear Mr. Dickens, I hope you are well and not at all rolling over in your grave. (It is, after all, nearing Christmas and renditions of your famous holiday tale are promenading before audiences who are mostly wondering whether they actually turned off the oven or whether the turkey they pretend to like is…

Lessons from a Tired Tuesday

This week, I am feeling the burnout of a senior music major. All I want is to curl up with chocolate and cry over old movies. Even on this tired Tuesday, though, the little things continue to remind me that beauty and order endure despite my messy life. Here are a few; maybe they will…

Preeminent Performance

In my "Redeeming Culture through Music" class, we were asked the following question: "Which is most important in music: the composer, the performer, or the listener?" The class more or less unanimously expressed that the three persons are equally important. After all, if there is no composer, there is nothing to perform and if there…

Three Principles

As I was practicing piano the other day, I wrote a series of three questions to ask myself as I worked on each detail: Is it clean? Is it beautiful? Does it mean something? First, I work technically, listening even to exercises to discern if they are played with clarity and precision. Are they clean?…

To Travel: A Sonnet

I was a stranger here yet better known Away from all I thought myself to be— Away from all routines that made me, me, I found myself in being severed grown. Away from all the people I loved best I found myself in newer company— I found my soul in this older country Away from…

On Departing

My feet pounding the pavement to the beat Of poetry that laid the cobbled street, I feel a shaking sense of bittersweet For a face I only once did meet And wind that sings its fingers through my hair Will not again its subtle secrets share, Nor will the trees and flowers for me bear…