Jazz Quartet on Christmas Eve

The rain snapped a snare drum beat on the thatch. Its steady tip tap echoed from the top till it hit the ears of the two stabled together amid the straw with a splash. One drop made no difference on her brow, drenched with the drained sweat from her young pain-drawn face. The beat of the jazz quartet continued; two slow trumpets from a neighboring stall joined the stable snare, improvising round the last member of this impromptu band, whose high wailing voice in a minor key and impassioned face painted the pain of the world as her husband looked on, wishing to conduct the band in this song he could not play, but supporting his singing wife with shaking hands and eyes steady in love. There was no silence in the barn that night only a song that ripped at more than ears, backed by the melancholy beat of years accustomed to such violent agony.

This poem is found in the collection Seasons of Thought

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