Translated from the Swedish by Roger Greenwald
Schütz comes into the room in torment’s prison
where I lie forever sleepless. In his train
a phantom host of voices — the arisen —
as if they’d left the place where they remain.
Music is not power. But can endow
the strength to baffle Death, like David’s sling.
It seems like Schütz has made a sacred vow
to voices fallen silent: You shall sing.
The chorale is never silent. Faith and doubt’s weaving
voices meet and part and join to magnify
the Lord, affirm the aptness of believing.
But when I in wonder turn around, exclaim
“Why trouble me, who crave sleep when I die?”
he’s vanished, just as quietly as he came.
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