Who is that smiling cherub whose huge wings,
Open, extended, like a swan in flight,
Lifts him above the angels to a height
From which he conducts, for the King of Kings,
Great open-air orchestral happenings
And plays concerti to his soul’s delight,
Nudging the brass to broadcast all their might,
Goading divertimenti from massed strings?

Mozart is playing cadenzas for God
On a heavenly harp. He plucks with some
Zest, some irredeemable human love,
At melodies that never merely plod.
Rousing the souls of saints, he has become
The kapellmeister to the choir above.



Conor Kelly was born in Dublin and spent his adult life teaching in a school in the Dublin suburbs. He now lives in a rural area of West Clare in Ireland from where he manages his twitter site, @poemtoday, dedicated to the short poem. He has had poems printed in Irish, British, American and Mexican magazines. He was shortlisted for a Hennessy New Irish Writers award.

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22 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    Conor, thank you for your Petrarchan panegyric poem to Mozart, a genius whose legacy continues to touch the world in ways that thrill, inspire and uplift. In your poem I especially enjoyed the image, “playing cadenzas for God,” which captures the joy and pleasure that God takes in his good creation! The use of the word “kapellmeister” was also fitting. Although the insufferable poetic pairing of the words “love” and “above” makes me squirm you provide a context that salvages them…barely.

  2. Leo Zoutewelle

    Conor, I stand in silent awe before the effort of writing your poem about Mozart! A certain composer is smiling at you with love from above.

    • Joe Tessitore

      O’er rocky peak, he flies above,
      The fat and juicy turtle dove.
      How very much this boy would love
      to shoot his ass for dinner.

      They say that Mozart had a remarkable sense of humor.

      • C.B. Anderson

        And so do you, Joe. As it happens, I am likely one of the very few respondents here who has actually shot a dove in flight and eaten it. I will tell you this: there’s not much there, just a few scraps of delicious meat, from the breast, mostly, not the ass.

  3. Alan

    A Petrarchan sonnet and an acrostic, in one poem, is surely a challenge to write. And how convenient that his name fits the octave and sestet perfectly! How did you get the idea for this?

  4. Sally Cook

    Dear Conor Kelly —
    This morning we sang happy birthday to my father’s friend, Glen B. Coykendall, who many years ago wrote me a letter saying that he had always known I would become famous. Of course I didn’t, but it seemed he deserved a heavenly birthday greeting. After all, there is still time !

    I see you love Mozart, as I do. Thanks for a lovely poem, and the beautiful image that accompanies it.

    • Conor Kelly

      Thank you for your kind comments. I do love Mozart. I agree about the image but cannot claim responsibility. It was chosen for me.

  5. Joseph S. Salemi

    This is an absolutely fantastic piece of poetic craft. The last line is especially powerful.

  6. C.B. Anderson

    As much as I might despise and eschew in my own practice acrostic poems, I must say that your effort was so well done that I feel you have redeemed the form and restored it to respectability. I never thought I’d say that.

  7. David Watt

    Conor, an acrostic poem may often appear forced in order to accommodate the letters commencing each line. I had no such impression when reading your outstanding tribute to Mozart.

  8. Mark F. Stone

    Conor, Hi. This is a very well crafted poem. I have just one question: should there be a question mark at the end of line 8? Mark

  9. Conor Kelly

    Thank you, Mark, for pointing out what should have been obvious to me. On foot of your comment, I contacted the editors and they have amended the poem as you can see above. I appreciate your support.

  10. Jeff Kemper

    Conor, I just today discovered your poem. I once had a high school student with your exact name, so upon seeing your association with SCP I had to look into the matter. This is the poem I discovered, a poem published before I had discovered SCP. I used to tell my students that J.S. Bach was the second greatest musician ever. The natural response was, “Who’s the greatest?” Some thought, I might say “Jimi Hendrix.” My answer was “God. He invented music.” However I would have to rate Mozart a close third. Your poem is a wonderful tribute. I pondered the emboldened, initial letter of each line but missed the acrostic. What a fine poem!

    • Conor Kelly

      Thank you, Jeff, for your kind compliment. But I have to disagree. God didn’t “invent” music. He created man (one of His divertimenti) and man invented music as a means of approaching Him. Mozart got close.


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