The Music Of The Theremin, Part I

(In which there is a boy, a man, and a curious box.)



I can’t imagine what the muzhiks would have thought of this.

They’d probably have me burned


The boy is not listening to the man; he is,

In a mixture of fear, wonder, and not a small bit of puzzlement,

Utterly transfixed by the box

Which sits between him and the man, who flutters his hands

Near to, yet never touching the strange box

With the two pieces of wire, one pointing straight up

Toward God, the other looped like a noose.

The man manipulates his fingers in delicate movements,

Like a man playing a pianissimo movement on a piano

Whose keyboard is embedded somewhere in the very air itself,

But the sounds… vaguely familiar, to be sure: he hears

The barking of a small dog, perhaps, or something much like

The faraway crow of a rooster filtered through the half-tones

Of the last moments of a dream, but not of this world or this life,

And, unconsciously, for his mother is of the old peasant stock,

He crosses himself, and then the boy hears himself say

In a voice not quite his own, that it surely requires a miracle

Or the result of some sort of magic

To make such a wonder as this machine.


The man stops his gesturing for a moment to look at the boy,

And then he bursts out laughing.


I didn’t figure out how it works so I could build this; I built it

So I could figure out how it works.


One thought on “The Music Of The Theremin, Part I

  1. I dig this. I think it would be even stronger if you had gone from the generic ‘man’ and ‘boy’ to son and grandfater/father/uncle or something more descriptive, or even used random Russian names (because of muzjik’s)

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