On Hearing the Shanghai Quartet Play Hovhanes

Four pieces of wood and gut
Become a forest of strings,
And in between the slanting lines
I hear a bird remembering light
An hour before the dawn.
I search the thicker groves
And hope to see his feathered form,
But as the day explodes
And shadows shorten
The bird escapes
And leaves behind a tree top breeze
That splits the light to fragments
Dancing on the leafy floor.
The litter soon dissolves,
Revealing orange, red, and white--
Scales in motion--
Suspended in a rock-lined,
Liquid-crystal bowl,
And falling from above--
A cherry tree in bloom--
Petals form continents and islands
Soon to be destroyed,
Sinking piece by piece
To line the ocean floor.
I dive among the fish
And swim down,
Down where light is lost
And silence is reality.

Bryan Ness