“The Musician played the violin…”

“The Musician played the violin…”

To I. Shwartz

The musician played the violin — I was gazing at his eyes.

It was not like I was prying — I was flying in the skies.

It was not from merely boredom – but I yearned to understand

how such sounds could be conjured by such simple pair of hands,

from some pale stretching tendons, from a simple piece of wood,

from some vision he invented, which he served and understood ?

One must know to press his fingers, without erring, on the mark

so the regal sounds’ progression doesn’t vanish in the dark.

One must penetrate the soul, setting everything ablaze…

After all, should one protect it? Treat it modestly, with grace?

Happy is the home where voices of the violins can guide,

hope infusing into people… All the rest will be all right.

And the instrument pressed tightly to the shoulder, held awry,

with whose blessing I am flying, simply soaring in the sky.

With his short road, frenzied fingers, and his sharp and piercing bow –

the musician, who has kindled, who has set my soul aglow.

And the soul, without a doubt, once it feels the scorching burn,

is more just, more open-hearted and more virtuous, in turn.

~Bulat Okudzhava (1983)

[ 9th May 1924 – 12th June 1997 ]