Sometimes I sit among them not reading
Wondering what it would be like blind,
Or if, one day, I just lost the desire.
Then I think of all the people leading
Other kinds of lives in which to find
Time would be like trying to join a choir.
When they got there they’d be so tired
That singing would be out of the question.
When Shostakovich, rehearsing the music
Of his Seventh during the siege, hired
Such musicians as had not succumbed
To hunger or cold, or had not been tricked
By the situation into thinking
That there was no longer any reason
To play, he instructed the piccolos
To support their instrument, by holding
It on their knee to at least mark the section
If they couldn’t muster the breath to blow.