Making A Joyful Noise

by Mary K. O’Melveny


Pans and pots clang, bang from open city
windows.A firefighter plays bagpipes
outside ER doors. A cellist serenades
from her porch. Another by way of zoom.
Violinists comfort from their balconies.
A trumpeter perched on an aerial ladder
plays O Mia Bela Madunina
in the square of Milan’s Il Duomo.

Music has calmed us in our direst days.
Thaletus sang hymns to Spartans as
they huddled behind doorways to avoid
cobblestone streets ravaged by death.
Henry the Eighth cloistered with his organist.
Black plague singers marched through London.
Civil rights marchers sang We Shall Overcome
as they faced down our scourge of racism.

From every vantage point, armadas
of choristers have deployed to defeat
our latest melancholia. This revolution
has been televised. Across the world,
all rise in praise of joyful noises.
Honor our s/heroes with harmony.
Librettos liberate. Amandla!
We are singing. Singing for our lives.



Mary K O’Melveny,  a retired labor rights lawyer,  lives with her wife in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, Mary’s work has been published in many print and on-line journals. She is the author of A Woman of a Certain Age and Merging Star Hypotheses (Finishing Line Press 2018;  2020) and co-author of the anthology, An Apple In Her Hand (Codhill Press 2019). K. Nizar, a multi-disciplinary artist from Kerala’s Kozhikode, who began his career on movie-sets doing art works before being a visualization artist for a leading newspaper in Kerala.  

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