A December grey, dank and murky lunchtime in Dublin.
The Concert Hall swallows us up, gathering us into the elegant auditorium.
We settle ourselves into our seats, making nests of our heavy winter coats.
The Symphony Orchestra filter out onto the stage.
Men and women, looking like they have been randomly gathered up from various jobs around the city.
I see a motorbike mechanic, the chairman of the board, a banker, a lollipop lady, a school mom, a hairdresser…..
Their musical apparatus is all that sets them apart.
The cacophony of tuning up, of muted conversations and shuffling of feet dies away.
Hushed anticipation envelopes the theatre.
Instruments raised, the ensemble become one, as music bursts forth like some magnificent fireworks display.
Firey notes of red and orange glow as they land all around us.
Electrifying the air.
Transporting us away from our grey city to icy Russian landscapes.
And then gentler tones of soft greens and blues float up into the air.
The conductor knitting up the airborne notes into a multicoloured fabric of sound.
Softer and softer until all that is heard is a lone harpist.
Dropping gentle notes like raindrops splashing onto a glass lake.
Crystal clear drops of ancient music catching the light and scattering vivid rainbows here and there.
And as I gaze again at the sober suited musicians they are transformed into mystical creatures,
Clothed in satins and velvets of deep hues.
Russet and ochre. Purple and gold.
As they shower us in this lyrical magnificence.
And I too am transformed by this wholly unexpected and sublime joy.
Dermot Healy International Poetry Award
1 day ago