Poem: Listening to Bach at the Seashore

Listening to Bach's "English Suites" at the Seashore (for Glen Gould)

by Richard Broderick

Suspended from my earphones,
leaning forward, a pianist to the keyboard,
I hear beneath the music deeper questions:
Who could be the ocean's father?
Father of the counterpoint between wind and water,
of the herring gull's lightening arpeggio
above the white wrist of waves,
of the sandpiper's rondeau with the surf,
so like movements in which progress
is a return to thematic structure:
Here, at the edge of anything human,
listen for God in the ever-present thunder,
look for Him in the numberless shell fragments
scattered by last night's tide in an order
only the sky is big enough to see.

From Northern Music, poems about and inspired by Glenn Gould.

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