J.S. Bach Addresses the Fugue

Doddering fugue in a grey key,
I have come for you.
Born in the time of the frowning masters,
Your clothes stretched too tight
On your ponderous frame –
They shackled you with rules, Fugue,
These men for whom laws and limits
Are the outward and visible signs of God’s love.
But I know God can dance.
And I will strip you naked, Fugue,
And I will twist and clothe you
In a thousand new fashions.
We will teach God how to whirl,
How to prance, how to laugh.
Yes, we will start with their rules, Fugue,
But when our blasphemies are done
Our heresies will be their hymnal,
Our God, theirs.

(First appeared in Copperfield Review, Spring 2022 – thanks to the editors.)

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