Spirit in the Dark

“What was that?” Decades later, I’d still like to know.

Filmmaker Tom Jacobsen

Spirit in the Dark

What to make of the night we sat up late,
Listening to Beethoven’s Ninth
In that otherwise darkened apartment?
The New York Philharmonic
Was gathering together the fragments
At the fourth movement’s start–
Momentum they’d ride like a wave
Through the fanfare and final chorus–
When we felt something else enter the air,
A front in the weather of the room.
It sat us upright on the edge of our chairs
While it tracked toward the record
And hung suspended for a measure or two
Above the still point of the stylus.
Then, just as steadily, it withdrew,
A patch of fog that had been burned off . . .
The look the dead raised on your face
Must have been the same on my own.
“What was that?” our expressions asked.
Decades later, I’d still like to know.
And what changes, if any, were played
Upon us?  And did any of them take?
“Be embraced,” the chorus sang,
And then the crescendo and kettledrums,
The whole Ninth welling before us
Before fading as well from the room.
Robert Gibb





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Poem ©2012 Robert Gibb, all rights reserved, used by permission of the author and publisher Autumn House Press. Film ©2013 Motionpoems, Inc., all rights reserved.