pathos, ethos, Tchaikovsky’s Sixth
married or gay, solemn or gay
the man, the music or the muse
Eighteen Twelve Overture or Fourth
who lived through oppression, abuse
who could tell him if he saw clear?

for we are all entre deux eaux*
we all go swim upstream to spawn
try to get near where we came from.
but swim against the flow and you,
you will lose all accoutrement
shed layers, layers of vestments

hurts are layer upon layer,
laid in over and over time...
misery sure loves company
as friend and foe will tell and tell
society will hold it still
and sure not help you shake it off

It is so hard to be awake
shake off all those trappings of shame
step out of that sarcophagus
slip out of giant chrysalis
and greet new life in morning light
poised yet so still until ready

let not that tired metaphor
stand in the way of what needs done!
unless those layers are peeled off
we cannot be ready for what
will come - we will need that armour
to withstand pressure from without

it is however strength within
we must regain first and foremost
before we go out and battle
the evils of man(woman)kind -
Man or Woman are not evil
rather our behaviour can be

so let’s all recover our strength
healing, praying, and counselling
as long as we don’t isolate
as long as we don’t stop crying
as long as we don’t overwork
as long as we do stop killing

a magic pas de deux shuffles
and glides across the stage
seeming to defy gravity
and thereby lift our gravitas
for brief moments of levity
and thus blow ‘way melancholy

so let us look for what will draw
attention ‘way from our distress
help us delight in each other
seek out our zestful company
show all it is not misery
but joy inside that we all seek

bent-over babushka’s creased lines
child’s furtive smile and rosy cheeks
wide-eyed girl’s innocent surprise
bearded old man now lost in thought -
the breadth of human emotion
can be so much more than we thought

but first must come the confidence
of humankind in brotherhood
where dignity, pride and boldness
are self-evident rights for all
and not just for privileged few
by age, colour, money, or sex

come you all, let’s march to the
beat of our own drum, not which
society’s distress dictates -
dictators or democracy
will only play into the hand
of misery if we let be...

a muse when on the march is not
amused, oh! indeed she’ll trumpet
and wake us out of the torpor
of all that put our minds to sleep
legalised narcotics, over-
eating, entertainment and sports

you and me together will have
a vision of a bright future
if we band together and think
fresh new thoughts of our own
in our newly found zestfulness
and draw others into our wake

*: in between waters

Inspired by 19th c. Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky's life and work.