Catches me in the front row
Voices bounce around like fireflies
Lighting up a note, now here, now there
And right in front of God and everyone
Your fireflies squeeze fire from my eyes
I want to hide
Fake a cough to wipe my cheeks
I close my eyes and now we’re alone –
The song and I
Walking through our memories
The magical trip where I first heard you
Under the speakers of a tweedy toy store in SoHo
“Just browsing – but do you know this band?”
And we’re off –
Now we’re home readying kids for school
Morning sun shadows peanut buttered and jellied hands
Your twinkling melody warms the sleepy heads
And off they go –
And they grow. Every summer the fireflies glow
Last year’s jar must open and let go
I’m helplessly in love and I want time to slow
Soon homework is a rock in their backpacks
Weighing them down, making them old
And outside at the school’s final spring show
It’s you again –
Buzzing in, unannounced, through the meadow
Salting the spring air with summer’s scent
Streaming down my cheeks with the joy of now
And I’m hiding again – but why?
If music is supposed to make us cry
Then feeling is winning
And you’ve set me right
In the front row
Of the fireflies’ show
I wrote it a few days later, but I felt this poem sitting in the front row at church. We’re not usually late¹, and the church is not usually full, but both happened in the same week. :sigh: All service, I felt like I was on display, in that inner circle of seats reserved for whatever Episcopals would call deacons².
The InterVals acapella group started singing – a dozen diverse faces singing with the kind of honesty reserved for performers who are people first. Their song: Fireflies by Owl City (suggested soundtrack for reading this post. Go ahead, click it. )
Watery memories flashed into my eyes.
Like a Littmus Lozenge, the song’s sadness hides inside a twinkling tune. It’s been with me over the years since I heard it over an NYC’s store’s loudspeaker and asked the owner about it. I bought the CD (gimme a break it was 2009) and for a day, I felt like I was the only person who knew of it.
From there it’s stuck with me, including the three distinct moments captured in the poem. I guess there is now a fourth. And this, just after I’d heard the famous Brene´ assert on her Netflix special that while we all want to be courageous, no one wants to be vulnerable.
And now I’m in the front row at church trying to hide my tears. Why?
If we want to avoid feeling, we should just have someone read the lyrics into a microphone while we all take notes. But music is about something more. It’s supposed to make us feel. So tell me why, when I’m moved while listening to something that’s supposed to move me, should I feel embarrassed about that?
But I do. And the next time I do, I’ll try to recall this poem to cheer me on. Perhaps in another world, all the unmoved stoics around me would be the ones second guessing themselves.
And if they ever need a flawed encourager, I’ll be in the front row, sitting with the deacons.
♦ weekendswell ♦
To read more amateur poetry, click Follow or see my post Ready or Not.