"Listening to William Byrd (d. 1623)"
The Government hated
all secret rites and ceremonies,
for they hinted at treason.
And so, in Catholic households,
there would be an innermost room,
behind a hidden door,
where the family knelt for Mass,
hoping they wouldn’t be burned alive
by agents and spies of the King.
the countertenors would sing,
their strange, angelic voices weaving through
the settings of William Byrd.
found the inner chamber.
With my high, forbidden voice,
How could I not?
When your ears are opened
you hear the secret music.
And soon you are singing.
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