Someone said you are what you eat so I asked myself what do I want to be

To make music in the heart
I swallowed an orchestra.

I looked at a world filled with war and death, old white men fixated on controlling wealth and women, and dined on a violin, desperate for its melancholy strings and their achingly sweet sorrow.

Fearing I would soon become misery’s appetizer, I consumed a clarinet to lift my spirits with its flights of fancy, calling upon dancing faeries to carry me away to their enchanted garden.

But I could not fairytale my life away in some mythic Eden and so I devoured a bass drum to tether me to the earth with its incessant beat, slowing when I need to rest and roiling into thunder when righteous anger compels.

Finally I feasted upon a trumpet, instrument of angels, that I might march forward in hope, joyously proclaiming peace on earth with frenetic fanfare, as if I actually believed we could achieve such a thing.

Now, banquet complete,
chair pushed back from table,
I sit in silence, composed,
straining to hear
the first notes begin.


Note: The first line of this poem (italicized above) is the final line of the poem “The Work of Christmas” by Howard Thurman.

©2023 Kenneth W. Arthur