When the Music Stops

When the music stops and the world just hangs
in the air as time just holds her breath;
and I hardly dare let my mind form words
lest they break the sense of holiness I feel
when the music stops.

When the stylus lifts but the vinyl turns
till I walk across and make it stop;
there’s a stillness there as the music sits
deep inside my heart and holds me there
as if the song is hearing me
once the music stops.

And I didn’t want the song to end,
and I relished every moment,
and I wish I could inhabit
all those twists and turns and laughs and tears
as fully as I did the instant
that I first experienced them.

But now I stand enveloped in
this very sacred moment
as the music stops.

The music stops: the world just hangs
in the air; time holds her breath.
I do not dare let my mind form words:
they’d break this sense of holiness.

The music stops.

I knew these words were a song as soon as I wrote the poem, but the music just wouldn’t come. I sat at the piano. I sat with a mandolin. The song was almost audible, as if just round a corner, but nope, nothing would come. Lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic had given me songwriters’ block generally for the past year or so.

And then, more than a month later, I decided to doodle at the mandolin with these lyrics. I set the video on my phone running so I could later use that to help me write the song. To my surprise, the soundtrack to the above video just “happened”. The song had been there all along, as I suspected.

Yes, I could re-record this in a more polished performance – more even chords, better vocal technique and so on, but it seemed appropriate to simply share the moment the music started.

– 7th March 2021, NJM

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