The First Fifth

by Gita M. Smith


The first time that

Beethoven's Fifth was played,

 people ran into the streets.


Men and women wept. No one

was left unchanged.

Thieves returned coins and silver.

Wife beaters laid hammers to their hands.

Clergy turned away from preaching hell

and sang long hymns of love at mass

Or all alone in bare-walled cells.


The audience and those outside the hall

(The poor who crouched at windows)

Wanted nothing more than love, to love,

Be loved, make love and music, all.