Palestrina, of course, the name
of the town from which he came,
near Rome, the city he lived in all his life.
Masses, madrigals, motets, holy writ
set to music by composer’s wit.
Pope Julius washes the peasants’ feet.
The line stretches twisted but unbroken,
all the way back to Peter’s seat.
We can no longer follow the road he trod
with its stations but we can follow
each note, a step, an offering to God,
the miraculous sound issuing
from human throats, the massed voices,
diapason impassioned and austere,
raised unto the stone summits,
echoes in the hollow of heaven’s ear.