“Overhead from Longing” by Judith Alexander Brice

To Charlie, April 19, 2017

Sometimes, your voice catches me
from beyond and overhead, from your longing
love—I think of your timbre,
the tremolo and cords it strikes, reminiscent
always of starlings, their cantabile speech,
as they learned to sing— no, talk, to Mozart.

Was it he who heard
and copied their joyful trance or they
who conveyed back his sweet noise
to wrap him in a swoon of song
so sonorous that he composed concertos,
so plangent that when he wrote his resplendent

masses, he was able to catch an audience
in rapt and full attention, swoop
his listeners into an evanescent murmuration 1
as dense and wide as the starlings,
when swiftly they disappear
into their wild and mysterious flight?


1. A “murmuration” refers to the phenomenon that results when hundreds, even thousands of starlings fly in swooping, intricately coordinated patterns through the sky.
first published by VerseWrights Journal (defunct)




Judith Alexander Brice is a retired Pittsburgh psychiatrist whose love of nature and acquaintance with illness inform much of her work. She has had over 80 poems published in journals and anthologies, including The Golden Streetcar, Voxpopulisphere, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Magnolia Review, and The Annals of Internal Medicine. Judy has received both Editor’s Choice and Honorable Mention Awards in The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize, sponsored by The Paterson Literary Review. She has authored four poetry books: Renditions in a PaletteOverhead From Longing, Imbibe the Air, as well as (a chapbook) Shards of Shadows: A Covid Diary. The last two books were published in early 2021. One poem, “Mourning Calls,” set to music by Tony Manfredonia, can be heard on his web-site: https://www.manfredoniamusic.com/mourning-calls. The attached published poem was the title poem of Overhead From Longing.

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