The music of my life began

in a minor key during the time

of Hunger.

Father sang that he felt

like a motherless child.

I blew my horn

to wake everybody up,

to move beyond bread lines,

yellow stars of David,

smoke of burning books,

and Brownshirts pounding

on doors.

We fought back against

the sound of the blitzkrieg

and gears grinding on Sherman tanks.

Later, peace and love

furnished our themes.

The gold finch sang in the plum tree

and the red-bellied woodpecker

drummed again.

Along with Bechet’s Sweet Patootie

and Pablo Casals Bach’s cello suites,

favorite lines of songs

refuse to leave my head:

Embrace me; It had to be you;

and, I’ve got you under my skin.

I will sing my way toward the unknowable

with Verdi’s “Va Pensiero.”