Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Lost Chord

The Lost Chord

There is a legend about a musical chord that once was played but cannot be found or remembered any more. The Moody Blues probably gave this concept the best modern articulation in their second album, “In Search of the Lost Chord.”

The following poem by Adelaide Procter is sweet but misses the greater point, which is that the chord represents something that everyone has heard at least faintly.

Seated one day at the Organ,
I was weary and ill at ease,
And my fingers wandered idly
Over the noisy keys.

I do not know what I was playing,
Or what I was dreaming then;
But I struck one chord of music,
Like the sound of a great Amen.

It flooded the crimson twilight,
Like the close of an Angel's Psalm,
And it lay on my fevered spirit
With a touch of infinite calm.

It quieted pain and sorrow,
Like love overcoming strife;
It seemed the harmonious echo
From our discordant life.

It linked all perplexéd meanings
Into one perfect peace,
And trembled away into silence
As if it were loth to cease.

I have sought, but I seek it vainly,
That one lost chord divine,
Which came from the soul of the Organ,
And entered into mine.

It may be that Death's bright angel
Will speak in that chord again,
It may be that only in Heaven
I shall hear that grand Amen.

The argument could easily be made that the world’s hustle and bustle is mostly a frantic manifestation of the search for that chord - a desperate, if unconscious, effort to hear again the “sound” that brings meaning and peace to the confused lives people otherwise lead.

It is possible that this symbolic “chord” is not in fact lost at all, and has never stopped sounding. What was lost is humanity’s ability to hear it.

But this could be changing. Perhaps we will discover that the music of God plays unceasingly through every willing voice.

Not only in the strains of inspired compositions such as “The Messiah,” but in the prayerful chants of ordinary people, the twittering of birds, the colossal cycles of planets and stars swooping through the universe, and in fact through every created thing whose will is surrendered to truth.


  1. I just heard it through your incredible prose. Amen.

  2. Hey D. I am so grateful to know you. I'm sure it is no surprise that this entry today has some especially personal meaning to me. I feel peace and joy at this expression of possibility and truth... that the cord and the chord was never lost.

    Your beloved friend,

  3. I second that CD, Amen!

  4. I like the tune you're whistlin'!!

  5. SOmeone on Living IN Aberdeen's comments wrote that this blog is shut down. Hope she's wrong. Is she?

  6. As Mark Twain once wrote:

    "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated"

    Thanks for caring.