“Though There Are Torturers” And The Power Of Art

The first thing I did after getting home last night was to go to a performance of A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, an amazing group performance put on by Brian O’Donovan of WGBH up here in Boston. It’s a totally tremendous performance, and I highly recommend making it a stop on your holiday calendar next year, if you’re in the area. But I particularly wanted to pull out this poem, which O’Donovan read towards the end of the show, because it reminds me that, while I spend a lot of time writing about art’s ability to help us work through the worst in human nature, it can also be a light that holds back the darkness. More of that in 2013, I think:

Though There Are Torturers
by Michael Coady

Though there are torturers in the world
There are also musicians.
Though, at this moment,
Men are screaming in prisons,
There are jazzmen raising storms
Of sensuous celebration,
And orchestras releasing
Glories of the Spirit.

Though the image of God
Is everywhere defiled,
A man in West Clare
Is playing the concertina,
The Sistine Choir is levitating
Under the dome of St. Peter’s,
And a drunk man on the road
Is singing, for no reason.