on:That makes us dream:
Seeking all his life to articulate and celebrate the abundant manifestationsof God in our human lives, Glenn reveals much about his love of his fellowsojourners in "That Makes us Dream" as he explores his soul's journey throughmusic towards an understanding of eternity.
I love how, after his thesis in the first stanza, he opens with aninvitation for us to "Sit on the edge of my futon / in the dark / andlisten", which paves the way for the sharing of his thoughts throughoutthe poem. We are participants in his passion even if we (read "I") lackhis deep knowing of the works he cites. And in that second stanza, too,he reveals the depth of his passion: "... is it possible not to pray when/ immersed in this sound world?" and we learn more about him, the poet andthe man. And then he leads us, comradely, back into his life, into thebeginnings of his immersion into music as we share with him Bach's "Dona nobispacem" in his "1970s paneled basement bedroom" - and so, forwardthrough time, and the musical moments which fill his soul and "catch theheart off guard and blow it open," (Heaney) often weeping in ecstasy.
And to the near past in which the ecstasy of music is so healing thatit is "emptying [our] hearts / of any misgiving in life" andtransporting [us] / freed of any medical tether, tenuous bond of mortality",thus preparing us, the sharers, for the absolute of music in all things mundane- as well as preparing us for eternity. And sharing in the almost-anguishof "Sander's Reproaches", only to be raised up again in the assuranceof justness and rightness: "Lord, You have done nothing / You have notoffended."
And on to the future, reflected in the present, when his daughter"plays his Little prelude in E minor" and we are there too to witness"the communication of sheer beauty" in her love of Bach.
It is as if this glimpse of the future catapults him, the poet and theman, again into the past from his singing of "Allegri's treble" (andis there a more divine piece of music on the planet than the"Miserere"?), to "Beatlemania" and then he pulls ushelter-skelter - and there is an urgency in the reminiscences here - to thosevenues which were the gateways to allow him to feel, sing, articulate hispassion and to connect him with his "companions Bede and Cuthbert"and later his "musician son" ("quirky in-his-own-world"):Ely Cathedral, the Chapel of King's College, Durham Cathedral, WestminsterCathedral and the Abbey, St. Martin in-the-Fields.
And so to return to his thesis through the primary focal point of hispassion - Bach - and to conclude that "light comes through a pathconnected to darkness / darkness is never avoided / in fact, Bach will alwaysexplore darkness / sadness, grief, loss, waywardness / In this he connects usto every human being / and then elevates our sorrow and despair / through musicof the most utter beauty." As he makes this soul-centred discovery,we are there too, as he has invited us to be all along, in "the sound[that] goes out / ...comes back eventually and surrounds you / enfolds andbathes you with its / ambient richness." We are partners in thisjourney of discovery because the man and the poet have asked us to be.And it's a bit like voyeurism, except that we are so deeply grateful for havingbeen invited to glimpse into the soul of a good and great man. Thisshared journey transports us, too, "beyond the mere "participation inmusic / to the ephemeral."
And what shared sadness, yet what exaltation in the knowledge that"there is no conclusion, denouement" in Bach's "Kunst derFuge" except to know that the "mysterious final fugue" - likethe poet/man's life "is left floating away like a balloon" into thecertainty of eternity.
I thank him for this companionship, for his friendly, loving arm acrossmy shoulder, for his confidence in me, the reader, for his love.