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Daily Practice


This ancient upright's dark enamelled mass

Is anchor and established precedence,

And as small country churches build around

The towering pipes of old world instruments,

Our after-suppers compass the bright sound

Of Johnny at his exercises, heard

Through clash of silverware and clink of glass,

As coughers in their pews attend the Word.


Blessed are his hands, his convoluted ear

That knows the left hand knows not what the right

Is doing, till they both be blessed again

With synchronism garnered overnight.

The darkling notes are constellated then.

The songs of buried men rise through our boy

And, lifted from the clatter, we can hear

What death's denied, the simple Ode to Joy.


Alfred Nicol



2000 Alfred Nicol; originally printed in Pivot.
Reprinted by permission of the author.

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Patti's Place for Design

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