Dinner with Haydn

I’m tone-deaf to my latest poem,
Listening to the sanity of Joseph Haydn.
It’s like someone planing boards in a workshop:
The boards are always smooth and even, 
But he sands them differently each time.
The finish gleams like a clever smile
And a gentle handshake. 
Certainly, Mr. Haydn, I'd enjoy that.

And now we’re in a pub in a comfortable town,
Rain dripping in a minuet outside.
He’s ordered the stew, I’ve gone with the turbot,
And they steam their way to us
With sloppy tankards of malty ale.
We raise them, to …

He politely waits for me to toast,
One eyebrow slightly raised.
I can’t think of anything, anyone, any reason.
There is a novel pause he will put to use later.
But for now he just pats my arm
And saves me with, “to silence.
“There is no music without it, you know.”

And I tell him I am most eager to agree,
A rejoinder that seems to amuse him.
We continue our meal in that silence,
Only the rain and the cutlery’s clicking
Which will dutifully turn to symphony inside him
Like so much of himself already has,
The endless inspiration of his routine days -
While I squirm in that quietly accusing gaze,
Just trying not to spill my beer.

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