Child’s Requiem

Satyr with Child Dionysus, Walters Art Museum (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The maestro hides, his cellar
an earthwork as cannons besiege
streets of beloved Vienna. Damage
passages of his already afflicted ears.
It’s all there– in the music– how he
cowers, the meter of guns, screams,
cease-fire after chaos of running feet.
And the little girl, dead, in the road–
Beethoven retrieves the broken doll
by her side, the child’s scherzo,
her pianissimo. Resurrects her name
from ruins, from the labyrinth
of flats and minors. He can hear
violinists pluck the piece he fights for.
Pulses inside himself so deafening,
chords so dark, he can barely hear
the choristers, their angel voices.