Obbligato

A sequel to Art Burglar. This one’s ded­i­cat­ed to Maya Angelou, Walt Whitman, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Keats, all the giants of the past, but is most impor­tant­ly ded­i­cat­ed to.…YOU. Yes, YOU, the one read­ing this right now. This one’s for you.


There is some­thing you ought to know.
There were greater songs that were writ­ten before.

These eter­nal sym­phonies of strange coin­ci­dences,
The visions, and won­der­ful chains of events,
Working through gen­er­a­tions, build­ing bizarre results
Of bil­lions and bil­lions of pages, which today con­tend
That no book ever writ­ten could com­pre­hend.

In one of those pages, I saw your name,
In the begin­ning Hymns of your Art
Beneath the thump­ing heart,
You can hear a music play­ing inside,
Rising and falling like tides, from dawn,
As you held on to your mother’s fin­ger,
Into the fad­ing Golden Hue that hides your wrin­kles.
But the light of the Secret Morning Star still twin­kles
In your eye, as we sing your lul­la­by.
If you trans­late that with your vio­lin,
No tomb could ever bury the song with­in.

But it’s hard to even grab­ble for your strings.
There’s music on your mind, but your throat can’t sing.
Maybe your melody can’t com­pare to the sym­phonies of the past,
Or the silence beyond. Maybe your voice couldn’t last.
The com­po­si­tion is frag­ment­ed, the drafts are unfin­ished,
Scattered in the dark­ened room. Your veloce is dimin­ished.
So much unheard. So much unsaid.
The agony is unbear­able, but the skin is unbled.

The cur­tains become your cocoon,
As light begins to fade by the end of the noon.
What dif­fer­ence does it make if one note is gone
While there are bil­lions of oth­ers to car­ry on?

ahem

The song has one note LESS.
It makes a WORLD of dif­fer­ence.

When you skip ONE note, the silence tells
That some­thing is miss­ing. Something fell
Off the sym­pho­ny, which is now incom­plete.
Something that could’ve changed the tune of the sheet.

Maybe they’ll for­get you, or maybe they’ll doubt
The bril­liance of your score they COULD do with­out.
Maybe they’ll for­get your efforts, your pas­sion and zeal,
But they will nev­er for­get how you’ve made them feel.

Because the gen­tle­ness of Adagio can stir the soul
Just as much as the swift­ness of Grandioso.

So, go on. Let the cur­tains slide off the gloom.
Break away from your cocoon and tran­scend your tomb.
Give new strings to your instru­ment, and play gen­tly,
And let it cost all that you are, while it sets you free.
In the rise and fall of your bow, there WILL be recur­ring ques­tions,
Not all of them have answers. And some are just direc­tions.
So play along for the music’s own sake,
And play! And play! Even if one of the strings BREAK

There will be crush­es, there will be heart-breaks,
There will be rush­es, there will be mis­takes,
There will be dis­tance above, and the unno­ticed near,
There will be love, there will be fear,
There will be trust, there will be trea­son,
There will be dust, cloud­ing all rea­son.
There will be courage, there will be retreat,
There will be vic­to­ry, there will be defeat,
There will be hope, there will be despair,
There will be unre­lent­ing zeal, and rea­sons to care.
And when you climb these walls of colos­sal size
You will fall. You will fall!
But you will rise.

This is pre­cise­ly the rhythm that makes you sway.
Three strings are enough for you to play.

There is some­thing more you ought to know.
There were greater songs that were writ­ten before.
An eter­nal sym­pho­ny, where Spirits of Ages exult
Through gen­er­a­tions, build­ing towards one bizarre result:
YOU — A sum total of col­ors from every hue,
Ever seen, ever heard — it’s all there,
Molded in YOU — with blood, tears and care.
Every scar has a song, every cage is a tale,
Every tear is an invi­ta­tion to Soul-making’s Vale,
Where so much will be tak­en, yet so much to give,
Where you will keep on dying, until you love to live.

The research is DONE. The Drafts are due!
Your spir­it revised, and your voice is new.
Every song ever writ­ten ensured that you are endowed,
So when you pass by me, it ought to make me proud.
Make this moment indeli­ble with the res­o­nance of your page,
An applause is wait­ing for you to final­ly come up on stage.

.…..
There’s some­thing more that you ought to know:
There were greater songs that were writ­ten before
Your life was even your own.
Now that you turn the next stone,
Play your great­est score, and carve your lore
In the heart of life, before it walks out the door,
‘Coz you want them to scream for one last “ENCORE!”

Your score will be played again.
New lad, new spir­it. But the same vio­lin.

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