Treasure Island

Robert Charles Howard

(26 DEC 1943 / Wyandotte MI)

Johann Sebastian Bach


Beethoven once said of the cantor of Leipzig
“Not a stream but an ocean.”


Sebastian Bach wove sonic tapestries
and scoffed at notions of genius
“Anyone who pays the price can do it.”

Whether for Sunday’s choir or organ
or for a palace fete of state,
The fountains of his bounteous spring
embellished every age and station.

Yet he could crack a joke or two
in a cantata to coffee’s pleasures -
sipping from a sturdy cup
of nature's matchless brew.

Flutists, fiddlers, singers, organists,
children and masters alike,
have netted hearty sustenance
from the seas of his boundless vision.

But modesty forbade him boast
the importance of his station -
affixing to his noblest works,
a trio of humblest words,

“Soli Deo Gloria.”

December, 2007

Submitted: Thursday, December 27, 2007
Edited: Saturday, February 02, 2008

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  • Alison Cassidy (12/31/2007 4:09:00 PM)

    This is the first poem I've read for 2008. What a perfect start to the new year. Bach's music is sublime (Jerry calls him God) . Your poem honors him with passion and a depth of musical knowledge that gives the poem added interest. The fact that he could churn out a cantata a week (and no computers to help) blows my mind. His music is intensely satisfying - emotionally, mentally and spiritually - always. Love the reference to the coffee cantata too. What a humble man and prolific too - he managed to sire thirteen children! Soli Deo Gloria indeed. love, Allie xxxx (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Fowler (12/28/2007 4:51:00 AM)

    Wonderful to know that this immortal composer was also a great human being. Praise for your eloquent tribute.

    Warmest regards,

    Sandra (Report) Reply

  • Ivan Donn Carswell (12/27/2007 4:17:00 PM)

    For the glory of God alone is as fitting a thought as one could harbour for Johann's works, but I am glad we of lesser station can glory in them too without such elevation! A worthy tribute Robert. Regards, Ivan (Report) Reply

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