History's Madrigal

When fiddle makers and dulcimer
makers look for best material they
prefer old woods, not just seasoned
but antique, aged, like timbers out
of condemned buildings and poles of
attics and broken furniture
from attics. When asked, they will say
the older wood has sweeter, more
mellow sounds, makes truer and deeper
music, as if the walnut or
cherry, cedar or maple, as
it aged, stored up the knowledge of
passing seasons, the cold and thaw,
whine of storm, bird call and love
moan, news of wars and mourning, in
its fibers, in the sparkling grain,
to be summoned and released by
the craftsman’s hands and by careful
fingers on the strings’ vibration
decades and generations after
that, the memory and wisdom of
wood delighting air as century
speaks to century and history
dissolves history across the long
and tangled madrigal of time.

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