tagNon-Erotic PoetryQuartet for the End of Time

Quartet for the End of Time


Liturgy of crystal

Shhh! Listen to the blackbird's voice, announcing
dawn, a lonely sound, far-off; beautiful, full of longing...
Heaven's harmony. The small hairs on my back
stand as the morning's cold and this far, lost voice
combine forces; eternity almost slips in.

Vocalise, for the Angel who announces the end of time

Rainbows shimmer in sound, the cascading waters gone
but the angel's foot sends up a fine prismatic spray;
we stand lost in awe, listening to the heaven's glassy harmonies
In a waterfall of notes – and then far distant
the voice of the void, like a monk's, starts to sing.

Abyss of birds

Hurled through sad time, the birds - a shattering of stars,
Heralds of light, descend on the world, singing their joy
in rainbow halos – all our desires, our fears transformed –
extolling the earth's beauty as they drop down, down, down...
telling time to cheer up – there is wonder still.


Come then, come and listen, and abide – the morning's growing older.
This slow day we'll stand entranced and starry-eyed, the cold
Clear beauty of the sad old world a backdrop to our musings –
All around no understanding – Einverständnis – and yet we
Are motionless before this beauty – fearsome, surpassingly strange.

Praise to the eternity of Jesus

Soft and low, the slow voice of love comes to us watchers – soft,
insistent... the Word come alive, the Word transformed.
Wood resounds to the taut strings humming, the warm, sweet voice
that speaks to us about longing, about the love surpassing
all we as capable of – the Word's eternity.

Dance of fury, for the seven trumpets

Here we all stand, terrified – petrified – the clamour of brass
in this granite outburst makes us shield pour ears, our hearts
palpitating before the purple rage of the elements descending
on us. Misery unleashed upon us, we stand and listen
until the seventh trumpet breaks over us.

Tangle of rainbows, for the Angel who announces the end of time

Shining through the light's refraction the white brilliance
almost hurts the eye – too bright this beauty, too hard, too high;
our awe overcomes us: ecstatic wonder, love, fear...
All around the rainbows, the stars' bright explosions –
their colours rain down on our wonder. Our end is near.

Praise to the immortality of Jesus

Music, man – the Word turned Man – and the strings voice
His deep love to our eager ears. He rises in love for us,
ascending the spheres – Please take us along, raise us –
the music a strong pull upwards, higher and higher –
May it take us where we would like to be best.

(I wrote this for the November challenge; the subtitles were given by Messiaen, who composed the quartet in a prisoner-of-war camp in WW II. It's a bit of a surprise to myself, and I'm not sure if it ought to be here, nor if it is poetry at all - so comments are highly appreciated.)

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