BTT 27.2 Dresden and the Furies

“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt…”  Billy Pilgrim.


Dresden and the Furies·

We seek the dead

Within our dreams

And pinching writhe our

Memory with a blade.

That night

Three women

Gathered children

Dancing in your winds,

Stained red

Above the screams.


– Lona Gynt,  January 1990.


This is posted for Amaya’s prompt at dVerse “Cry me a River'” where we are asked to submit a poem about a piece of music that once made the poet cry.  I brought out an old poem that I had not shown to dVerse yet.  I think if fits the bill.  Here is the link to Amaya’s prompt:

Poetics: Cry Me A River

I had the grim and beautiful opportunity to participate as a Teenage Trombonist in a Wind Symphony piece by Daniel Buchvich called Symphony No. 1 (In Memorium, Dresden 1945).  I have been haunted and tearful whenever I reflect on this music ever since.  It is one thing to have read Slaughterhouse Five or to have seen the movie, it is quite another to be enveloped in a piece of music that causes you to live the terror and the sorrow and the passage into…?  Upwards of 135,000 people were killed in this Allied bombing.  War is hell, and maybe… hell is war.  It is interesting to have a piece of sheet music in front of you in which the staffs and notes simply dissipate in to black terror and images of smoke and screaming on the page and the musician is left to chaotically descend into… into… into… the end.

You ought to find a way to look at the sheet music sometime.

Today is also thirty years since Tiananman, and a few days since Virginia Beach, and probably a few seconds since someone somewhere called someone raca.   My other post today is a scribbled out remembrance of a tank and a man and a question.  The first three people (all under 40, but educated) that I mentioned Tiananman Square to today had never recalled hearing of it.  We cannot forget.  We must not.  Perhaps we burn if we won’t learn.  Please listen to the link to Buchvich’s music.

Love y’all.  Lona.


All rights for text reserved to Lona Gynt, June 2019


38 thoughts on “BTT 27.2 Dresden and the Furies

  1. Therisa Godwaldt

    Nor should we, Lona. Sadly, for most people don’t want to know about the horrors that we commit against each other.

    As for reading sheet music, I can’t. Given my inability to track across the score, due to my learning disabilities. in the past, I have tried to learn to play the clarinet, during grade 7.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar

    I never have thought about the emotions the musicians must feel when playing this music – we all KNOW how it affects us while watching a movie… I listened to the link – it is haunting and scary – it was hard to listen to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also, I loved your “Good die young” poem, couldn’t get my comment through, I promise I am not a robot as far as I know… Your poem made me smile! I played The Stramger to death back in the day. Thanks!


  3. My God, that was terrifying. I don’t watch suspense or horror so I’m not used to elevated heart rate for kicks. I think I just now remembered to breathe. How awesome that you played trombone for such a piece! Although if I had to I think the floor under my seat would have a little more than your average spit valve;) And remind me. What was that theme at around 4 minutes, the noble one? It sounds so familiar but I cannot place it. Your poem succinctly defined the horror of Dresden, of war, of hell, in which ‘all of you soldiers were just babies.’ (Slaughterhouse Five) That’s believable about Tiananmen slipping into obscurity. It is not talked about, taught, or least of all memorialized in China, (surprise, surprise) so who in the grand scheme is going to care? You are a better person than most, Lona, up against a teeth-gnashing mob.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! I have always thought that theme right before the firestorm was familiar too, but then I was in High School when It was wedded to me, so perhaps it is the thing itself that keeps coming back. The closest I can think of is some of the stuff happening at about minute 8 in 3rd movement of Beethoven’s 9th – adagio. Whatcha think?


      1. No not what I was thinking of. It’s an uncanny melody, as if from a past life or something. Earlier today I listened to another version of the symphony (and watched with tremendous lighting effects) and during the cadenza part I’m talking about, there was a soprano singing. One of the commenters said it was an “Ave Maria” but I can’t be sure. Anyway, thanks so much to the introduction!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing music and poem, Lona. I remember the first time I read Slaughterhouse Five, many years ago when i was much younger, and being haunted by it so I couldn’t sleep. I agree with you about the music conveying the terror. I imagine playing in such a piece in an orchestra is all the more powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That ineffable, fatal trio, whirling together like bloodstained Graces … the scale is too great to assuage with mind or heart, not alone at least … collective experiences that assemble in the Buckvich symphony (and resonate so shrilly here) or Picasso’s “Guernica” or Elie Wisel’s “Night” are terrible mirrors but so vital to accepting our partial identity as a human scourge against life. Distant bombs got us there, to Dresden and Hiroshima and Aleppo … only the Furies in us exult. Gathering the children like offerings to Ares.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Profound music and an excellent write. The power that music has to portray events and emotions is truly incredible….and then to do it over and over and over….The recalling, the visualization, the depth that comes with some pieces.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Bjorn. Slaughterhouse Five catalogues the insanity, the Symphony the terror and sorrow, which makes me think your choice of the word “touch” is precise and beautiful. Whether aural or tactile, all sense is transduction… the awful energy of this sorrow needs to still reverberate, the empathy might bind us yet.


    1. Yes, this piece of music has always stayed with me, even though it is so hard to find a recording, I con only find it on You Tube, I can’t stream it or buy it… yet it has never left me in 30 years, it is an important and tragic event to remember. Thank you Imelda.


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