Wednesday, July 29, 2015

There is an amazing amount of talent out there in the world. Much of it is never heard or seen beyond the living rooms or local communities. This is particularly obvious when we see the almost endless resources that the various “reality television shows” are able to draw upon.

I confess to have a certain fascination with watching the broad cross-section of singers that appear on shows like American Idol and The Voice. Many of these appearances are available on You Tube and so it is possible to watch performances not just from the United States but from Europe, Australia and all around the world.

The odds of winning one of these contests are small, but the winners are not always the best in talent. Much has to do with presentation, song selection and the preferences of judges, whether they be spectators or an actual small group of experts.

I particularly enjoy the “battle” type rounds where two singers participate in a duet. It seems often to bring out the very best in each of them. It is the modern equivalent of the fights to the death in the coliseums of ancient Rome. Each singer knows that they must put on a great show and work together even though it may mean the end for one of them.

There is a very fine line between success and failure in all of these performances, and in the duets we often see the competition rise to a new level. We are watching these young people walk out on a tightrope over a vast abyss.

Voices (copyright 2015, Glenn K. Currie) is a poem I wrote after watching one of these duets. The energy of their performance was wonderful and I wondered if either would ever again achieve the kind of level they reached as they walked that tightrope together, or had they traveled along that fine line to the middle without a way to return, without looking down.

Glenn K. Currie


It was a duel by duet.
Pitch perfect notes fired
Like shots of lightning,
Splitting the stage,
Then melding together.

This incandescent merger,
Created by purist chance,
Will soon be ripped asunder
By raging spectators,
Or jaundiced judges.

But for the moment,
This battle,
This symbolic dance of death,
Has joined their souls,
As they feast
On each other’s talents,
And inhale
Each other’s last breaths.

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