A Symphony of Unity

By Harold

They told me
The world was lost -
Hopelessly divided and torn apart
By the passions of cruel men;
By evil men who spoke alien tongues,
Who would never understand
One another's wants.

I looked out
On the world around
And saw men of many nations and climes
Speaking many strange languages;
With manners and customs of many kinds.
Opinions and beliefs,
Principles and doctrines.

And I said,
"Yes, it is true.
Man is helplessly divided and torn apart
By a generation of cruel men--
By evil men who can only speak evil
Of one another,
And another's wants."

But then I heard
On a still night
A great symphony of instruments playing,
With delicate scales and rhythms,
With sweeping, massive chords and harmonies,
A moving hymn
And a quiet cadence.

I knew what it was -
A Bach chorale.
And it spoke to me a word of kindness,
I thought of comfort and encouragement.
I knew that men everywhere could hear it -
And hearing, understand
Its moving message.

It could have been
Any other chorus,
Or any other composer's creative masterpiece:
A Gregorian chant, a Tallis madrigal,
A Handel oratorio, A Beethoven symphony,
Or Aaron Copland,
Or Shostakovitch.

The notes we know
And knowing, comprehend:
Whether they come from Germany or France
Or China or Israel, Poland, or Greece
Or Scotland or Italy, Russia or Sweden,
England, Hungary,
Or the Americas.

They speak as one -
A Universal language:
A grand tone-poem with a melodious leit-motif
Of unity close binding all the tribes of men:
Of harmony beneath the surface of clattering dissonance
Man's one-ness
With fellow-man.

And over all -
The God of all.
Eternal Father - called by many Names.
He has made of one blood all the nations:
One race - the living human race -
One universal lineage
Under Almighty God.

This poem has been transcribed by Renette Davis with permission from the author's wife. The author had Huntington's Disease and died in 1986. The poem has been featured in several orchestra concerts, with Bach's "Air for the G String" playing during the narration.

Send comments to Renette by clicking here.

Created: April 20, 1996
Last updated: Nov. 28, 2010