a different breed of listener

A different breed of listener

 We’ve come to listen

We’ve been waiting
for some good listeners
to play for 

The art of listening
to music,
listening without talking,
listening to each note,
to the silence between the notes,
to the words among the notes,
was a dying art 

Many had lost the ability
and the desire
to listen properly,
to give their full attention
to music
and silence 

A tribe of listeners,
true listeners,
authentic listeners,
purebred listeners
still existed,
but they were on the verge
of extinction 

Please sit,
we shall soon begin to play 

The small room filled slowly
as listeners quietly
trickled in 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Seated on cushions
on an old wooden floor,
the listeners were ready,
their voices silent
and their minds quiet
and open to receive 

And when a tanpura began to drone,
the listeners gave
their full attention
to the notes and tones and harmonies
that came their way 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Cameras, telephones
and all other electronic devices
that made some sort of annoying sound or light
were not allowed
inside the concert hall 

Those who dared
to create a distraction,
to risk a beep or a flash of light,
those who did not care
about the others present
and that their actions detracted
from the beauty of the music,
were banished from the concert hall
until they had completed
a ten-day vipassana meditation course 

Some people quickly learned
to appreciate music in its pure form,
undiluted with conversation
and the capturing of images,
to offer it the respect
it deserves 

Others remained oblivious
to the pleasures and intricacies
of unadulterated music 

♫ ♫ ♫

One by one,
a sitar, a tabla, a bansuri and a slide guitar
joined the tanpura
and began to play,
and just when it seemed
that nothing could be more divine,
a voice began to sing
an evening raga 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Sing words
only if you have something worth saying,
taught the master at the music ashram upstairs
Otherwise keep quiet
or just sing vowel sounds,
which can be very nice
And enunciate properly
There’s not much point in singing words
if nobody can understand what you’re saying
And don’t whine
Create something beautiful,
embody beauty
May your music be medicine
for those who listen 

With those words in mind
the raga singer continued to sing,
captivating her listeners
and leaving no room
for the mind to wander 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Those who knew how to listen,
who enjoyed listening,
loved the concerts
at the music ashram’s concert hall
It was one of the few places in tow
where one could listen
to music
in peace and quiet

 The musicians played,
the singer sang
and the listeners enjoyed every note
and every moment of silence
until the last note
was played

♫ ♫ ♫