Variations on a Theme


Statuesque in plainsong chant
The organ pedals with toes tapping
Transporting the spirit heavenwards
In rising descants
Beyond hymns ancient and modern;
Limbs splinted in rigor mortis,
Hands folded, knees bent
As dreams turn to settling dust
And sunlight shines through stained glass
On a new creature
In perfect silence
As though a saint had arrived.

                                    Graceful in a dance of meaning
                                    The harmonium follows the tabula
                                    Transporting the spirit heavenwards
                                     In rising ragas
                                     Beyond sub-continental mystique; 
                                     Fingers pointed, limbs gliding
                                     Hands gestured, feet squared
                                     As the mind floats above dust
                                     And a spotlight shines
                                     On a new creature
                                      In elevating cadence
                                      As though a guru had arrived.


Singing gymnastically with joy
Drums beating with the heart
Transporting the spirit heavenwards
In rising decibels
Beyond projected screens
As bodies dance in tetanic spasm,
Hands clapped, feet stamped
With dust rising into thickening air
And strobe lighting shines
On a new creature
Amidst a burst of applause
As though a celebrity had arrived.
September 2009
After listening to the Soweto Gospel Choir in London, and then reflecting on contrasting styles of Christian music, including plainsong, classical Indian and gospel, all of which can lead the human spirit into the transforming presence of God.
The Soweto Gospel Choir concluded their performance by singing –‘O Happy Day’

Listen to plainsong chant from Stift Heiligenkreuz, Austria - Music for paradise - Music for the soul
View a short selection of Indian classical music and dance

Photo credits:
Quarr Abbey - from Joee Blogs - A Catholic Londoner
Yoga Dancer - Wikimedia Commons
Soweto Gospel Choir - © Jay Town