Blind Choir (Nam Shan Estate 南山邨)

Chinaman Creek

Nam Shan Tsuen

Between the concrete wall of a block of flats
and — flightless — concrete stairs
this was no place on Earth we’d ever expect
a Christmas choir. I was caught
as I think I always am
when the once-in-a-lifetime moment comes
in two minds twice unequal to the task.
By the way they looked crookedly through their song
I could tell they all sang blindly by ear
and I realized then how my thin sightseeing power
was stone-deaf to the sonic invisible.
The harmony of so many separate shared voices
none of which carried the main body of music
across the arid hubbub of human noise
braked my heart:
this was the concert of the fragment,
soaringly restored to charismatic wholeness,
rock-solidarity made possible by breath.

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