James Matthew Wilson, “Let Us Tune Our Instruments”

Editors note: This is the first poem from James Matthew Wilson’s song cycle, The River of the Immaculate Conception (, 2019), commemorating the Mass of the Americas premiere celebration at the Cathedral of St. Mary’s of the Assumption, December 8, 2018. 

I. “Let Us Tune Our Instruments”

Sunlight flows through St. Mary’s windowed corners
With such a grace it seems that all commune
In brilliance, and every surface serves
      Only to magnify with its reflection
      The holy self-expression of the One.


And, in this light-filled place, the cellists tune
As if sweet union’s what the world deserves;
And beauty’s never beat down by its scorners;
     A vain thought never warped our first affection
     Or concrete weighed the hillsides ton by ton.


Such possibility the introit preserves
With its notes raised for brides as well as mourners,
Remembering and transcending that dark noon,
     Where Judas hanged himself for his defection
     And all the rest stared on a dying son.

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