Hamburg Concert Readings


4th November 2013

In preparation for his concert in Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle on 31 October, Eric put out a call for poetry to be read at intervals throughout the concert. The response was overwhelming – over 200 poems were submitted. The choice was tough but Eric whittled it down to six poems and here they are.

The Prayer
She bows her head
and splits the surface of the high
mountain lake
with both hands clasped. Dark waters open and close, but she fears no shadow. Over and over
her arms arc a rhythm
as she swims praises,
she swims praises.
Her breath shimmers
above her
in long spirals,
a thousand pale green pearls
rising holy,
holy,
holy.
Written by Toni Prehoda Kahler from Forest Grove, Oregon, USA

Silence
When night falls over the lake, and the only sound
is the oceanic marvel of sleep-breathing throughout
the house, my friend leans back,
feigning world-weariness, and says
Maybe prayer is an old couple who just sit
in total silence learning each other, and suddenly my mind
is with you in a pub window across the Atlantic, gawking
at the couple in the corner that never speak
to each other. It’s almost clichéd: burnished light
throwing their lengthening shadows into relief,
the old wood of the table a sea of scores
and scratches set between them,
a crude pastoral etched into the banter of city traffic. You laugh a somersaulting laugh that lands like a blessing
flowing from a handspring. But I
am the forlorn man alone in the window,
a lurid archetype staring, statuesque, into the empty pint glass with too little time and too many words to learn
you. In a third-class return flight
I haphazardly scrawl what I know of you onto my memory with the unbearable silence of oceans pressing down
on me. Maybe we don’t have to say as much
as we think we do, says my friend, and in my mind you press a communion wafer into my mouth to stop my words.
Written by Taylor Driggers from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Advice from a Writer to Her Little Sister
Dear sister,
All great art, regardless of the form it takes, is created in love. Love of beauty.
Love of the medium.
Love of another soul.
And a true artist is never selfish, remember that.
That portion of themselves left behind in every piece….that’s love.
Whenever you feel sad or alone, Admire a painting.
Read a good book.
Play your favorite song.
For when you do the artist is there with you, offering a hand to hold.
Just as I will be.
And though there will come a day when I have to let go and the words on this page are faded beyond recognition.
Know this, you are never alone when surrounded by beauty.
For beauty points us back to the love that created her.
Written by Bethany Killian from St. Albans, West Virginia, USA

loss, gained
tonight i sat as you prayed for me,
tears streaming down my face
because i’d forgotten how to lose something.
i looked out the window
at the sun setting, blasting the world
with golden angles, surprising us all
with its easy beauty. and as the wind lifted everything,
the light caught one filament of a spider’s web.
it ribboned unbelievably between two branches —
i was transfixed by its singular precarious existence,
its heartbreaking fragility, its marvelous defiant resilience.
tonight i lost something. i cried. i looked out the window. it was beautiful. i believed.
Written by Kristen J. Krier from Wheaton, Illinois, USA

Request
Take my miserable body in
your less-than-able hands and make me unaware and oblivious,
whole and holy again,
even if just for a single breath of a moment
Written by Michelle Guzman from Tucson, Arizona, USA

Chapel
Enough of water
melding and welded to air, a seamless wedding dress, gray sea and the song
it sings to erase itself.
I am always departing,
but at evening nothing sings: not water, not wind.
Gulls depart the shore, always through the gray white gate of wing.
The train along
the bay’s ellipse isn’t singing.
Only a boat’s low call,
the empty benches of wave and the boat’s propeller turning over: I do. I do.
Written by Jory Mickelson from Bellingham, Washington, USA

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