New Poem

Organ Recital

for Adam

The whole world of music was there beneath 

your dancing fingers and your flying feet.

I heard tubas, trombones, foghorns, bells and flutes,

whale songs, birdcalls, clarinets and lutes.

Bassoons, sackbuts, wolves howling at the moon;

The plaintive cries of oboe, owl and loon.


The diapason rumblings deep to deep 

were the sighings of subterranean giants lost in sleep.

Then far above the grave-deep decibels

the tiny tintinnabulation of the bells.

I heard from the pipes the sonorous 

singing of the stars– the stupendous

sound of planets winding on their way,

and angels’ boisterous trumpets poised to play.

Back to back from tremendous dissonance  

surged a messianic magnificence

that gathered up the dark tumultuous tones

and bound them each together all as one.

And then the great Musician fathered forth.

He gathered up your talent and your youth,

and shook them out to show the world,

How your amazing music, bright and bold,

transposed beauty into Truth, and revealed

the intimate, fearful magnitude,

and all-majestic tenderness of God.

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  • Bernadette

    Messiaen, was it ?

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Ahh! Someone read the poem close enough to see the pun. Lines 15 and 16 actually have two puns–the other refers to the piece by Bach

  • Bernadette

    Bach didn’t usually employ dissonance as he saw it against the perfect order of God.Who was it, then ? I didn`t hear anything but Messiaen in that poem.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Line 15 the word ‘back’ is a pun referring to the fact that the organist played a Bach piece in the recital and l. 16 ‘messianic’ is a pun referring to Messiaen.You clearly didn’t see that, but picked up the ‘dissonance’ and realized there was messiaen on the program.

  • Bernadette

    well, i`m not that clever, I just read the poem and heard Messiaen, (in Notre Dame, Paris) one of my favourite composers.Who wrote the weird poem, anyway ?

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker


  • Bernadette

    Ah. Well, I don`t know who implied it was weird, but it is very very good. And I recommend Messiaen to any good faithful Catholic. All life is there.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    I don’t actually mind if it is called ‘weird’ if by ‘weird’ one is making an objective observation. Some of the organ music itself was weird and otherworldly and I was trying to capture that mood.However if by ‘weird’ one is just expressing dislike for the poem that’s okay too, but more polite terminology could be used…:-)

  • Jenny

    OK, OK, but for us dimwits, who the heck is “Adam”–the original or a contemporary?? I read this poem at 4 a.m. EST and was tempted to ask the question then, but KNEW I would be considered a dimwit.Signed, Just your ordinary reader

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Adam Pajan is a young organist from our church who played his senior recital at Furman University last week.

  • Adrienne

    Me thinks you like alliteration. I don’t usually like poetry, even though I’m reading the biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay at the moment, but I do like this poem.I can hear Father L. after reading the above, “Well, whoopie ding!”

  • kkollwitz

    I kept thinking these last 2 days that I’d read this decades ago, and late today was able to deconflate “Organ Recital” from “High Flight.”

  • niggle

    The poem ain’t weird. It’s unusual. I simply thought ‘Adam’ was THE Adam, and that the poem used some overheard organ recital to evoke the original creation of man, that is, Adam. And I still read it as such.Loved these stanzas:The diapason rumblings deep to deep were the sighings of subterranean giants lost in sleep.Then far above the grave-deep decibelsthe tiny tintinnabulation of the bells.I heard from the pipes the sonorous singing of the stars– the stupendoussound of planets winding on their way,and angels’ boisterous trumpets poised to play.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    I didn’t know ‘high flight’. A google search produced it. Nice!