Swinging Song

Bach’s BWV 721
by Claudia Lehman

Swinging song drawn up from fathomless deeps
in stacked crystal buckets of string and chord
poured into pillared forests of sound
and leafed carpets of light
softer than any moon—
Swinging song strung thin across distances
on which winged warriors tread
unhurried marches with unsheathed swords
toward the undoing of all sadnesses—
oh infinitely more present than today
is your tomorrow
beyond the reach of our spreading stain.

These four minutes
let me stand in your stinging rain
let me hear in its steady glory
that the clash of these small uncertain days
will melt at last into an Amen beyond the power
of understanding or destruction—
let me hear
that even this will not be erased
but by its doing and undoing
will brush some small dust of light
in a kingdom formed of thorns and blood and tears and

oh swinging song.


Claudia Lehman lives in Păltiniş, Romania, with her favorite poet, Kyle, and their daughter Josephine. She loves teaching, old books, Earl Grey tea, wildflowers, and her comfort zone.