Beethoven in Virus Time

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, by Beyond My Ken – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, from Wikimedia Commons

The Philadelphia Orchestra,
Broadcasting on television,
Is playing Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 5 and No. 6
In an otherwise empty Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall—
Empty, without an audience,
Because of the virus that has changed the world
In weeks, days.
Right behind the orchestra are the empty seats
Mother, Daddy, and I held as our season tickets.

Beethoven, Daddy’s favorite.
As I listen, my emotions rise, fortissimo,
Chords of pain,
Waves of feeling riding waves of magnificent sound
Carrying a magnificent, hard-to-believe-it-ever-was past.

When I was a little girl,
Daddy played a recording of Beethoven’s 6th for me,
Narrating the story told
As the symphony’s movements unfold.

I feel and see moving toward me in silent procession,
Now crowding together in their joyous,
Suffocatingly sad throng,
My life’s vast gifts of miraculous memories.

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