2017-04-17

NaPoWriMo - 2017 - April 12th - Recital room on the edge of forever

Blatant cheating now, this isn't one I wrote for the occasion, but one I've had half finished in the pile forever.  So I dusted it off and forced it to reach some sort of conclusion.

This describes, pretty non-literally, an actual evening of Elizabethan music that we enjoyed some years ago.  The unlikely characters listed are caricatures of the people in the audience (including myself, guess which...)

The 'king' didn't actually die, but did fall asleep, and the time-machine wasn't visible but you could feel the possibility in the air.



Recital room on the edge of forever


I This is not historically accurate.

The time-machine is off.
The lighting dims.  The audience contains:
one child, adhesive with toffee, snot and cough;
one king, broken as veins in his nose;
one faerie princess, warlike, but with boots off;
one sister, handmaiden, or clone;
one disembodied mind, chilling;
and full supporting cast of students, spies,
more musicologists than mind can face, journalists,
and surely an assassin.

 
II Diagram not to scale.

The ensemble assemble and arrive.
They sit, to some applause, the lutenist,
recorder player, countertenor, viol...
as archaic arrangement as ever was desired.
The needle on the time-machine is hard
against the twenty-first century, but now
they start to playThe lutenist perspires.  Flow my Tears,
as Dowland said and maybe they can flow
into some place where Queen Bess isn't dead
so much as lost around some corner neither mind
nor eye can see.  Perhaps we hear a hint,
musically, of a place that time misplaced.


III There is no history.

The King is dead,
the music must move on, journalists
mutter into phones, and recorders:
descant, tenor, piccolo flow smoothly
through musicians' hands.  Everybody
counts strings on the lute.  Students,
spies, and surely the assassin are flown
back to some safer, more-familiar time-zone
and the needle on the time-machine
without seeming to move
is now minutely clear of the end-stop.

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