A bit late since Easter has now passed but it records an experience when singing this Bach masterpiece in the centre of Wolverhampton UK.
We had arrived in sunshine –
One of those days when Summer
Looks in, unexpected at the back door.
Our minds however were in the shade
Of this solemn monument,
This foundation stone of received wisdom,
This anthem of the elite.
We stood together in the comfort of our age,
Open mouthed, singing the songs
In their heaviness, woven around
The certainty of death
And the unshakeable testimony
Of powerful voices. The oboe’s chocolate
Flow piped its tragedy to the eaves.
The church faded, grubby, dusty,
The sunlight found no purchase on these walls.
Reverence filled the pews.
But this was a city church
And death must take its place
Beneath the roister of trade,
The shunting for position
And the contained explosions of escape.
In the silence between the notes
A growl grows until the earth shakes
And a monstrous savagery, a scream
Of bone and flesh, a leather clad
‘Fuck you͛ roars around us.
No one moves,
The music goes on.
We might prefer our encounter with this death
To be cradled in a cloister
But he did die amidst the raucous shouts,
The cruelty, the neglect of a city͛s anxiety.