To A Young Tenor Singing Schubert

Michael Miller

The songs are charming, and you wear them well.
Your fine interpretation is, in truth,
The fresh, resilient sympathy of youth:
Your surplus sentiment is half your skill.

Your manner and your voice betoken Spring;
Your windswept heart is ruled by Winter, though,
Where notes leave footprints in the powdery snow
Which vanish with the next air that you sing.

What will you do when sentiment grows dear,
The road turns brown, the weather—moist and warm?
Where will you find the courage to perform
Down to the quick? What will your audience hear?

A fenced-in meadow where the cattle graze,
Or ivy cuttings in a green-glass vase?

Michael Miller is a professional translator and freelance writer for the Catholic press. He holds degrees from Oberlin College and from the Yale Graduate School.