If I could spin one wish
To bloom for you,
It would be the skill
To lift a tune from music,
Yellowed sheets, long mute,
And float the ghosts of those
Who sang when there was time to sing:

who sang against the rhythm of the mangle
or marching to the mill,
clogs ringing on the cobbled street;

siren, peace-seducing tunes
warbled on a cracked harmonica,
calling the day when men,
in thrall to war, might turn
again to mothers, home-fires
and lilac-gathering lovers;

flappers’ catches setting
ostrich feathers nodding,
ropes of beads djangling:
honky-tonk joppling till dawn.

Your sure fingers will stray
Across strange keys,
Unlocking notes to conjure
Days thought lost,
And then you’ll find your melody
A-flower in silver harmonies
On staves which span
Each age of song.

Poems for Artemis