For The Love Of Britten

So this poem is going to require a little explaining. I recently had the opportunity to see a rehearsal of Edward Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto, 15. In the program there was a background story about the piece. The extremely shorten version of the story is that Britten started writing the piece in 1938. War loomed and Britten was upset by this and that fact that his friend and poet W.H. Auden had enlisted.

I was moved by the story and then as the rehearsal started I was moved by the music. So I wrote this poem (now revised) as the music played. I just let the music and the story walk into my heart and this poem is the result.

I have tried to create a poetic experience with this so if you want, click on the video and then read the poem as the music plays. Thank you enjoy.

PS. this was not the concert of the rehearsal I attended. 😉

The Berliner Philharmonier’s
Janine Jansen performing Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto op. 15 (well some of it)

For The Love Of Britten

Oh! What is happening
to poetry, to music, to art
to this beautiful world
while tragedy brews on the horizon.

One by one the talented sign
their life away for insanity…
for war, for what?

The beauty of our world through
their eyes, their words, their song….

maybe lost…
will be lost…
forever lost.

Never again will their words
stain paper, lift rafters,
and enlighten souls.

What humans have etched
into creation to be wiped
away by death.

The gentle rise of forests
turned to shards of splinters
pricking our consciousness.

Oh what is happening
to our beautiful
tragic world?

The human frailty of it all.
Dare we test
the already testy waters.

Tensions build and our fears swell.
Bombs soon replacing
symphonies’ drums.

The call to war drowning
the sounds of sonnets,
strings, and flutes.

Our tragic follies change
sunrise to human midnight.

Grab your gun for your flag
and in your wake
the chorus dwindles to a solo.

One lone violin, one lone voice
a refrain lost in the wind.

Is it for the better?
The question, forever
enigmatically suspended.

Forget your flag
remember your trees,
both wave in a breeze.

Life too high a price to pay
for your inkless pages
and your silent violins.

Let your sounds shine
and dapple our world
with enlightenment.

Let the bombs be drums
and the strings and flutes fill
our souls instead of our ground.

Let the solo become
a full symphony
lifting our spirits.

Let the composer’s ink fill
page after page
and our warless souls.

Let the harp heal our wounds
raising us from despair, greed,
fear, and hate.

Let the poets, orchestras, and artists
elevate humankind into a new awakening
where creativity is used instead of war.

Oh may the art of negotiation be
rehearsed, rehashed, and reworked
until the need for war is removed
from our beautiful world.
©Delaina J Miller 2012

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