August 1741 Midnight

by Peter Venable

A music sheet, barren as a skeleton,
Rested on a table by his piano, 
curling in humidity.

sweat dribbled down his nose.
He flicked it with his quill pen,
watched it arc in candlelight 
and splat on scraps of lyrics 
on the floor.

He glanced at an Isaiah passage penned on paper,
heard a voice singing across the ages
Comfort ye my people. Then Messiah’s words
The trumpet will sound pierced his mind 
with a piccolo trumpet prelude. 

Lyrics and harmonies and violins and woodwinds
began swirling like eddies in the Thames
as he felt a river of blackest ink 

burst through his melancholy 

and he dipped his pen

to scribble the first note.

Peter Venable has written sacred and secular verse for many decades. He has been published in Ancient Paths, Prairie Messenger, Time of Singing, American Vedantist, The Anglican Theological Review, The Christian Century, The Merton Seasonal, Windhover and forthcoming in Spiritus. His Jesus Through A Poet’s Lens is an eBook and print version available at

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