Evening Poetry, March 19

Joy

by Lisel Mueller

“Don’t cry, it’s only music,”

someone’s voice is saying.

“No one you love is dying.”

It’s only music. And it was only spring,

the world’s unreasoning body

run amok, like a saint’s, with glory,

that overwhelmed a young girl

into unreasoning sadness.

“Crazy,” she told herself,

“I should be dancing with happiness.”

But it happened again. It happens

when we make bottomless love–

there follows a bottomless sadness

which is not despair

but its nameless opposite.

It has nothing to do with the passing of time.

It’s not about loss. It’s about

two seemingly parallel lines

suddenly coming together

inside us, in some place

that is still wilderness.

Joy, joy, the sopranos sing,

reaching for the shimmering notes

while our eyes fill with tears.

You can find this poem in Alive Together.