Ritual, by Magdalena Collum '18

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Ritual, in four parts, by Magdalena Collum ‘18 Inspired by Igor Levit’s performance of Bach Partita No. 4, Schubert Moments Musicaux, Beethoven Tempest Sonata, and Prokofiev Sonata No. 7 I.

Bach, the Worshipper Aisle lights for candles, Row mate’s cologne for incense, The spectacle begins. Bowed down like a worshipper, humble and yet confident of his gracious reception He has entered, he has begun. He is faceless, like his god. Careful, for each flat cries a different hallelujah, each flat means something new. At first, he approaches gently, in awe of the sheer multitude of notes available-a child determined to play them all. At times, he approaches knowingly, with an intimate familiarity that seems almost irreverent At times, he approaches with such a deep anguish it is hard to understand How he’s not pounding the keys, Demanding some answer from the strings and wood before his prostrate body. You want him to demand an answer for the anguish. He plays on softly.

II. Schubert, Theodicy And then our Job emerges. Not in prolonged anger, But in a rapturous expression Melting into prayerful sorrow And soon again he skips Into eager familiarity And hymnlike, loving praises. How can his fingers laugh Before such a deity? III. Beethoven, the Lover And then you see, you understand-The god--he suffers too. They are lovers, naturally reverent The keys so beautiful they must be savored fully And yet their energy cannot be contained in that quiet joy They must be hurt, destroyed To be appreciated Soft, soft, darling-The midday light through the windows begins to fade, And you and I Are alone. We all stopped breathing before we remembered

we were alone We rejoiced before we remembered all that had happened The tea spilled, and you wept, but it was really for your daughter, all along. Lovers, entangled, weeping for spilt tea and empty death. IV. Prokofiev, Doubt But then Where was there to go? There was only to accept or reject The painful joys of the god’s love. And this was life alone. Loneliness is not quiet-it is a monsoon I scream, and he hears-nothing Beauty, My LORD, I know not who you are apart from tears.