by James Keller


Is this you? A man born and raised in
sleepy provincial cold northern towns,
boy soprano and good at Latin,
at the beck and call of princes in gowns,
getting on the wrong side of the big wigs.

As was the custom in your family
when your wife died you took another,
and always worked hard for a small fee;
made your Anna many times a mother
as your composing was unstoppable.

When they finally made you cantor,
you worked harder, longer than ever,
although a church mouse, always dirt poor,
but nevertheless, you never ever
were one of those who make compromises.

Is this you? The man who made music
that more than one proclaimed old-fashioned,
not one of whom held a candlestick
to your river flow-- in humility,
you wrote to the greater glory of God.