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Life as a Bach Invention

Bach Invention

by Jane Tyson Clement (1917-2000)

If I could live as finished as this phrase, no note too strong;

each cadence purposed, clear,

the logic of the changing harmony building and breaking to a major chord

strangely at home within a minor web of music; if I could define my end,

from the beginning measures trace my course,

I might be old and prudent, shown by laws

how to devise a pattern for my days and still be free, unhampered, yet refined.

He sat before the keys and turned the notes into a fabric of design and peace;

here are the notes, the keys, my fingers free to run them through their course,

and here my mind seeing his wisdom work within the chords,

finding his knowledge in the finished line.

I would be wise if such restraint were mine.

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