an amateur plays an Anglican cathedral organ

  • my boarding school music master, Eric de Courcy, had good reason to repeatedly put me in detention. what made that same man trust me? as principal organist, he gave me permission to play the Church of Ireland cathedral organ unaccompanied. what a privilege that saved me from much harm…


    Stiff the lock, old the over-sized key,

    tall the Anglican cathedral door;

    mausoleum-like cold air welcomed me,

    lonely footsteps on chequered floor.


    Stained glass saints stoically gazed,

    as I vainly attempted classical tunes,

    ivoried keys pressed, haltingly praised,

    ham-fisted harmony, Sunday afternoon.


    Hungry that teenage heart with no relief,

    invigorated by giant pipe organ swell

    seeking certainty, Bach’s biblical belief;

    that shelter “where sheep may safely dwell”.


    Time suspended in leviathan space

    filled with elephantine organ boom,

    sloppy timing added farce, not grace;

    electric sparks in God’s engine room.


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