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Wednesday, March 11, 2020


by Anne Harding Woodworth

NOTE: This concert [of the Mozart Requiem] will be closed to the public; please do not attempt to visit the concert hall.
—Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, March 7, 2020

On this night of wrath and lacrymosa
the hall is hollow except for soloists,
chorus, orchestra and conductor, who,
at his back, feels eyes that aren’t there.

And at the end, when he turns to take a bow
before the crowd that has stayed away,
it’s as if he’s infected with the emptiness he sees.

The phantom audience, in its contagious silence,
offers no sound of shout or cough or applause,
no standing ovation for those who have just sung out
through an ether of airwaves to the undead.

Confutatis is understatement.

Against all advice, the conductor shakes hands
with the first violinist, who stands ready to leave
with her instrument that played flawlessly, while
the chorus begged eternal rest for whoever was not there.

Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of a six books of poetry, with a seventh appearing late this year.  Of her four chapbooks, The Last Gun won the 2016 COG Poetry Award, and an excerpt from it was subsequently animated at Harding Woodworth is a member of the Poetry Board at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, and of the Board of Governors at the Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst MA.