Mulched beyond bones, but reprieved,
Wolfgang has a home in my mind, and he’s still bereaved.
From his pauper’s grave, and with a whispered pitch,
I’ve summoned him with my ‘On/Off’ switch.

I’ve a front row seat, alone in my darkened room.
Herr Mozart performs for an audience of one, shadow playing
delicious symphonic strains, running
up and down melodic stairs, as he claims,

even after two hundred and twenty-five years,
a charmed dominion over my captive ears; with
Apollo’s cocoon of pastel tones. Songs of heaven;
a concerto composed in late ‘eighty seven,

when he visited Prague.  And while this delights me,
I’m forever restless, because now I can see
that I’ve been seeking the center within the sound,
the eye of the storm, the silence that his music surrounds.

I hear a whisper from that unmarked grave:
“Don’t learn this too late…Everything that is, only invites.
And all that is silent only waits.”


Robert Phelps is a 76 year old Catholic priest, a Capuchin friar, who began writing in 1991 on a private retreat in a rain forest in western Maui. He has been “at it” since then, and has 3 chapbooks published, two, Ever and Point of View,  by Finishing Line Press, and one an e-book, Incessancy, Stories of God, e-published through Book Baby. He lives in Beacon, New York. 

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3 Responses

  1. Dona Fox

    Genius. I agree with the phrase in the poem but direct it at the poem “this delights me” especially the revelation and the reply at the end. Thank you!

  2. Michael R. Burch

    Very nice! Bravo! I was able to visit Mozart’s boyhood home in Salzburg, and see the baby grand piano where he learned to play. Later in life, I saw pool sharks like “St. Louie” Louie Roberts demonstrate another kind of genius, which could get very expensive if they talked you into a game! More recently, I saw a little girl, Jackie Evancho, sing as well, or better, than the opera’s greatest sopranos. I think the poem does a very good job of drawing us into Mozart’s genius.

  3. Reid McGrath

    Fr. Phelps, I am enamored of your ability to vacillate between rhyme and blank verse, and your ability to use a variety of meters. The hexameter is Homeric. Dana Gioia once told me that he likes to be unpredictable in his poetry, and the form of this poem his highly unpredictable. It reminds me of Gioia’s poetry. I like it.


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