BellaOnline Literary Review
The Stairway by Debi Gardiner


Cellist´s Soliloquy

Brigitte Goetze

With a Bow to Bill

To bow or not to bow: that´s not the question,
but whether to play by ear and to suffer
the beats and speeds of an outrageous time
or to take arms against a sea of troubles
and by plain counting end them? To count: to be
no more out of sync and thus to deftly end
the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
a band is heir to. ´Tis a consummation
devoutly to be wished. To play by ear:
to flow—perchance to sync: ay, there´s the rub,
for who can dream the orchestra will heed
his lead when it’s beseeched by the baton:
this must give me pause. There´s respect owed—
or make calamity of so long a piece.
For who would sneer at dips and soars of time,
ignore the oboe´s song, the proud horn´s call,
the pangs of big-sized drums, the flute´s display,
the trombone´s urgent office and thus spurn
the patient effort all such playing takes,
when he himself might his bowing make
better with his count? Who would vivaces bear,
and grunt and sweat under a weary drive,
but for the dread of some unbearable
contempt at concert’s end—from whose frown
no one returns unscathed—puzzles the will,
and makes us rather work on trills we can
than try the others that we know not well?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
and thus the gentle call of inspiration
is muffled by a fastened mute of fear,
and enterprises of true pitch and movement
with this regard fade ritardando
and lose the name of action—Soft you now,
the fair orchestra!—Strings, in your orisons
are all my sins uncovered.

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Spring Equinox 2012 Table of Contents