Channels and Waves
Updated: Jul 10, 2021
Channels and Waves Someone has a radio Tuned to static, scanning across Random voices, tumbling words of French, occasionally some English Snippets of pop songs Captured on a short wave frequency Over 21 miles of waves... Channels and waves The evening has crept in Swallowing the listless Shapes of the desperate, lonely, Afraid, forgotten, yet still hopeful. Torch light illuminates canvas in A jaundiced yellowed glow as Batteries fade, and darkness seeps in. It is the quiet hour, the hour when Those resigned to another day of uncertainty, waiting, forever waiting Retire to their tents and sleeping bags And the safety of friendships Of a trusted few, road-brothers bonding through hope, replacing fear and conflict That rent apart family and home and life. The one-more-chancers, the back-of-a-lorry-jumpers, the dinghy-channel-crossers Left as darkness closed in. Hoping tomorrow they will find themselves on The other side of the channel and waves Chancing their luck, trucked, bussed to Who cares?... as long as the air tastes And smells of England. Chopin melodies drift with the smoke Of evening fires, that swirl And fill the night with images - A Damascene springtime, the cusp of Sunset and a flat where Nocturne No.2 in E Flat mixes with the aromas of spices and schwarma and falafel from the street vendors - Then they always stopped beneath the balcony, Shouts of 'Bravo Maestro...play some more, encore!' Another vendor chimes in, 'Play something Syrian and I'll give you a free kebab!' But the piano is long gone. Chopin chopped and broken into firewood, the crackles and sizzles An unsyncopated concerto of discordant anger and rage. They are killing music too. But as long as hearts still beat, The melodies will stay - an endless Refrain The regime plays Life - D C al Fine In a minor key But we'll keep repeating D C al Coda, Back to the beginning, repeat, repeat Life is a major key, Play on, repeat, again, repeat. The buildings and lives torn by the piccolo whistle of missile and the timpani thunder of bomb and snare drum crack of bullet. Music becomes a casualty of war, and the soul screams in silence - Muted by fear, and the rhythmic pulse of conflict. I examine my fingers, Long, slender, fingers that hold Treasured memories of music But now gnarled, calloused, cracked - Dirt ingrained in every crack and line Staining the chewed nail beds Will they ever be clean again? Will they ever caress those 88 keys - Blacks and whites that conjure colour-scapes, and a kaleidoscope of emotions? Chopin fades and the radio hisses Static once more, but I call out 'Please, the classical music again - I am a pianist, a musician, you are filling me with hope that one day I'll play again.' The static hums and a voice replies, 'Of course my brother, and we will come to watch your concerts, Insha'Allah.' I hear the first chords, F and A flat, resolved like a sleeping infants breathing And my eyes close to the present Squalor and sadness and aloneness They open to a concert hall, a Steinway Grand, and my fingers are lithe, alive and Gently press and float as Debussy Wrests away pain and cold and hopelessness. Clair de Lune - no need for torchlight when the moon is in full reverie, Casting its light over the Channel and waves, silent and Passive witness to the consequences of Inhumanity and abandonment. But now every one of these disparate Dirt grimed, longing for home displaced are fresh and clean and dressed up, and sat in row upon row of happy lives.
The Syrians, the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Iranian, the Kurds, the Africans - No longer refugees, but free Men, women, children - humanity. Entranced and enthralled observers Allowing the waves of piano notes In chord cascades and swelling runs To engulf and immerse them in peace And joy and a future that lies Across the Channel and waves. A standing ovation, thunderous Resounding, life-affirming! Encore! they call. Encore! I whisper. Encore! Encore! Until I play again. On England's shore Across the Channel and waves.