It is the breeze that finds the voice in these ceramic chips that stir and twist when worked upon to ring against their kin. It is the breath that calls the shiver from the rods and metal strips all tuned to sing a certain note when brushed against. It is the strings that hold the sticks and plates at lengths to swing and speak at perfect pitch both loose and bound and sensitive to moving air, but strong enough to stay intact through gusts and storms, responsive to the whims and fits of atmosphere yet afterwards hang free, at ease, and waiting for the next light touch, to yield with fin and wing by turns, and satisfy the restless sweep of zephyrs with both tongue and lip.
The first and final luxury we can afford is hope, and time for viewing clouds, those luminous evolving fleets and flocks, the towers of blinding conflagrations, cities without population, world on elevated world of silent mist, and otherworlds that float on time and beyond time, on distant peaks as wide and far as we can see, a spectacle for our delight, and, yes, a barrier against despair and flimsy vanities, when we are left with nothing but this show above, cool oxygen, magnificent as thunder’s hush.
In factories and shops where grease was integral to every task and part, there used to be these rags of fabric, coarse yet smooth and tough, a certain shade of purple cloth for wiping hands and rubbing down machines and tools. That lavender was chosen for these handkerchiefs might seem at first a paradox, the royal color to be smeared with darkest stains day after day, absorbing filth and solvents’ reek from hands of foulest work, from steel with grit and soot and oil stuck to it. Yet purple was appropriate to the nobility of work, essential cleaning and repair in pits, the dignity of sweat and knuckles cracked and pores all black, to keep the world’s clock chiming with the poetry of time itself, the calluses of palms caressed in hues of kings and amethyst.