Can you imagine what is true, that smack in the middle of making The Magic Flute he interrupted himself to make “Ave Verum Corpus,” world’s most truth-telling motet (Who made its text? Maybe a pope), then got himself on track, back to TMF (all the while dealing with money worry and sickness of wife). When you get to the esto nobis cadence in “AVC,” you scale the spine of the European Enlightenment; when you get to the idiotic “Three Faithful Youths” chorus in TMF: “Three faithful youths we now will lend you Upon your journey they’ll attend you; Though young in years, these youths so fair Heed the words of wisdom rare!” you’re dealing with Bertie Wooster’s three best friends. Because he was Mozart, not a problem.
Copyright © 2014 by Caroline Knox. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 18, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.
"Where I grew up, we did a lot of choral singing in school and church, lots of Mozart, so I got to know some. The only way to make a poem about his genius seemed to be to record a group of stunning and paradoxical facts that spoke for themselves and demonstrated Mozart's range."