After the Joyful Concert

Post Concert Animal Triste

Sixty of us sang
under one baton
spirituals and folk
songs to SRO
crowd of friends and fans
standing clapping some
shouting AMEN when
soloist filled church
with his ringing sound

Now the silence rings
through the empty space
in between my ears
early the next day
snatches of the songs
come and go glow then
fade finally bring
ashes to my tongue

never again sing

[Post coitum omni animal triste est–after sex all animals are sad] Steve Shoemaker
Urbana, IL, November 4, 2013

Four brothers who sing together

Our parents took us to their church four times
each week: on Sunday, twice, and then for prayer
on Wednesday night–on Thursdays they sang hymns
in choir rehearsal while one, two, three, four
of us played on, around, and under pews.
“You boys be quiet!” they would often say.

We learned to sing in Sunday School: “Jesus
loves me,” and “Hallelu Hallelujah!”
Soon all of us were singing in the choir…
Then we grew up, our parents aged and died.
One atheist, one pantheist, one pair
of liberal Presbyterians–none tied
to our folk’s Baptist faith, yet when we drink
we sing their songs in four-part harmony.

– little stevie shoemaker, urbana, il, july 6, 2013