The Seated Musician

The Seated Musician

the final terracotta figure in the exhibition
was called “the seated musician”
this young man was sitting on the ground
his legs fully extended
he was holding an instrument that had
long since turned to dust
probably a stringed instrument
he would pluck or play with a bow
his face was unlike the faces of the others –
infantrymen, generals, bureaucrats
his features were soft, his expression, tender
you understand he played his zither
not just with his hands
but with his dulcet spirit
when he returned my gaze
with a shy smile
I held my breath to hold the moment
and then he turned back into clay
waiting two thousand years to play
for his dead emperor
buried in a vast necropolis
while China became China
just above his head

Franklin Abbott
18 February 2009
Stone Mountain

The High Museum in Atlanta exhibited figures from the
terracotta army of China’s first emperor.  Over two thousand years
old, they were buried for millenia.  
www.high.org

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