More Poems Inspired by Virtual Choir 3 “Water Night”

The Rest of the Story:
My January post was about trying to get over laryngitis in time to sing in Virtual Choir 3. Inspired by the process and Eric Whitacre’s glorious music I wrote the poem, Creation of Water Night. It turned out that this was just the first poem that would insist on being written. All part of what became my VC3 almost-compulsion, culminating in three videos submissions. The first two recordings were seriously flawed (and ultimately deleted). I kept working and hoped I would have enough voice to record a video I felt good about. As days went on, I conserved my voice, speaking little and singing only to get warmed up. Every day I listened to the Alto 4 practice part, worked on the words, read the VC 3 Facebook page, and made sure the tech side was OK at my end.

On Monday before the deadline I was able to take a voice lesson with my teacher, Kip Snyder, which firmed up where to take my breaths. That night I got all ready, makeup on, black top, new blue yeti microphone and computer set up. And then…no voice. Disappointment. One day left. Not procrastination, but close to desperation. I wanted to be OK no matter whether I recorded a video or not, but I really, really wanted this!

And on the last day, Tuesday, in the afternoon, just before the site shut down from the deluge of new entries, I slipped in and recorded. I watched the playback and felt good about it. Not my best sound ever, but no big mistakes, good energy and warm, full heart.

Thank you Eric Whitacre and all the VC 3 people for incredible inspiration. Thank you! I read the VC Facebook page every day, soaking up all the unfailing encouragement and tech help given to others. Thank you! I was amazed and moved by the variety and poignancy of all the stories. Thank you for sharing! I felt (and feel) powerfully connected to this group (In this composite photo I am the third one down and fourth one over from the top left side.)  Had a hard time coming down to earth for days after. Here are the poems that tell the story. (With yesterday, In the Dream, the sixth and likely last poem in the series.)


Becoming Virtual Choir 3

Drawn to the music
uncontrollable pull
notes aligned as iron filings
to a magnetic pole

a force of nature
to be reckoned with.
Why these notes at this time
calling to singers of the earth-based web

to unite in dissonant harmony
to sweep and swoop and soar on expelled breath
to help and heal and mold and meld
disparate stories and trials and successes

into one? Why not?
The woman who had heart surgery
the day after singing her submission,
a short reprieve, music replacing fear for her.

The young man from the Philippines
joining for the first time, struggling with technology.
Those with colds and tests and life ongoing,
husbands and kids and dogs supporting.

The woman who gave birth
soon after singing her part.
Those confident few doing what they do
and the rest of us in need of nurturing confidence.

The encouragers and tech fixers: David and Jack,
Sarah and Tony, with unfailing encouragement
and good advice, someone ever-present, determination
and persistence in support of whoever steps up to the plate.

And when the designated time is over,
to be a part of something larger,
if that is not spiritual,
what is?

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2012


The Signature

To EW with gratitude

The beauty of dissonance,
in itself…and resolving,
the strength of moving to
and off of and onward,

continuing the run, each note
clear and strong, not shy away from
close connection,
let all notes be possible together

in the greater scheme of things.
Regardless of what was taught
about what was right or right rules once
in the world as it existed then.

To let become and bloom
from sheer joy of breath and sound
as if the world is being
created all over again…

as indeed it is…
from pure vibration.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2012

By this point I was getting desperate and that tightened my throat which did not help my voice to loft and soar.  I remembered why I sing: to be filled with joy. And my husband, Stephen, came to the rescue giving me this image from when he had coached young kids in softball. When a kid tried too hard to hit the ball and kept missing, Stephen made it easy saying, “See the ball, hit the ball,” taking the overactive brain out of the equation. As funny as it might seem, this was the perfect antidote to nerves as I made my last attempt at recording. And it worked!


See the Ball, Hit the Ball

(Remembering Singing is Joyful)

Weight of expectation
and longing full on desire
too much for fragile voice,
neck and shoulders to bear.

To be soft and lyrical
superhuman arc of breath,
to sing with a smile inside,
sound blooming in its time.

What could be ideally,
illusive now but possible
maybe just once, not perfect
but joyful… and that is enough

for temporary euphoria, transient bliss,
deep satisfaction of success.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2012


Muriel Rukeyser

Translated Octavio Paz

The translator almost
byline at the bottom,
who opened a door
between one language and another,
facilitated what would come after:
the music, the singing, the connection,
dissonance melting into unity or harmony,
the web-strands covering the map,
the euphoria, the sweat, the effort,
the heart moving to tears
of joy it is said,
maybe also loss and pain.
So many choosing to join
something greater than any one.
Begun with a choice of one woman,
or begun with the poet calling and then her choice
who brought to the task
all she had been and been longing,
who took a certain risk
for reasons unknown.
How the chance was offered
with unknown compensation,
no separation between survival and poetry.
And though she is dead,
words are not and the circle
led me back to them.
When she was old did she
remember what she had done,
aware in the waning hours then
what would come?

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2012

Watch for the April 2 launch of Virtual Choir 3 in Water Night!

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