In the Alto Section

(Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony)

You sit behind the orches­tra, spell­bound
by com­plex chem­istry you’ve heard before:
a mea­sured mix of breath and time and sound
decreed by small black icons in the score.
You rec­og­nize these runes, for you’ve been trained
to trans­late this arcane cal­lig­ra­phy—
to be a cat­a­lyst for unex­plained
excur­sions into immor­tal­ity.
At last you stand; at last you get to sing,
your mor­tal, mid-range voice admit­ting you
to this inspired amal­gam. Finally
your notes are needed for the ren­der­ing
of gold: believe, and count, and on your cue,
sup­ply the cen­ter of the alchemy.




Jean L. Kreiling’s poetry has appeared in sev­eral jour­nals, includ­ing Ekphra­sis, The Evans­ville Review, The Edge City Review, The For­mal­ist, The Lyric, Phoebe, and SLANT. Her work was awarded prizes in the 17th Inter­na­tional Poetry Com­pe­ti­tion (spon­sored by the World Order of Nar­ra­tive and For­mal­ist Poets, 2003), and was nom­i­nated for a Push­cart Prize in 2000.