Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Raymond Foss, New Hampshire Poet

In the Hushed Choir Loft
Raymond A. Foss

In the dark of the empty sanctuary
he toiled, alone, refining his skill
preparing himself,
by drill and practice
to become a servant, an instrument
God’s hands on the organ’s keys
God’s voice in the purity of the notes
coaxed from the pipes in the chancel
to be ready on Sunday, in worship, in public
to share, to proclaim his praise
to minister in His church
through his playing
of the familiar hymns
so others too would know God
feel Him, as he surely does
through his faithful service

(Of Hyung-Kyu Yi, practicing alone May 25, 2006)


Raymond A. Foss (1960) was born in Westfield, MA, the oldest of five children. After moving to Claremont, NH at 16, he attended the University of New Hampshire, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1982 and a Master of Public Administration in 1984. He graduated from Franklin Pierce Law Center in 2004. His law practice focuses mainly on special education and family law matters.

Raymond started writing poetry while serving on the Barrington, NH School Board in 2000. The Reading Specialist had asked each board member to bring a piece of poetry to share at the April School Board meeting in honor of National Poetry Month. When one of his first two poems received a favorable reaction, he began to write poetry regularly. (See how important it is to encourage one another?)

In reference to this poem, Raymond has written, "I especially remember Hyung Kyu's fingers, the way they brought the pieces to life... And our church's organ really worked for his gift. He also plays the cello (again it makes me think of the way he held the bow, urging the notes out)."

Since 2000, Raymond has written over 2,200 poems, most of which appear at his poetry blog, here: http://www.raymondafoss.blogspot.com/

When not writing poetry or practicing law, he devotes his attention to his wife and their three daughters.

3 comments:

Alice C. Linsley said...

Having spent a great deal of time in churches, both when they were full of people or empty, this poem brings back memories. I was reminded in particular of a gifted young organist named Gary who served at the Church Farm School in Exton, Pennsylvania in the late 1980s. Sometimes I quietly slipped into the chapel and sat in the back to listen to him practice. The music soothed me and I realized what a wonderful gift God has given to musicians.

Ray Foss said...

Thank you Alice for posting this poem on your site.

I was Church Treasurer at the time I wrote this poem. I was often in the church fairly late at night. Hyung Kyu would be practicing and I would often stop in the Narthex and open one of the heavy doors into the sanctuary. I especially remember Hyung Kyu's fingers, the way they brought the pieces to life. He was a very wonderful technical organist. And our church's organ really worked for his gift. He also plays the cello (again it makes me think of the way he held the bow, urging the notes out) and has a wonderful singing voice. He was Music Director at the time I wrote this poem. Later, he was an intern at our church from Boston University School of Theology.

Hopie said...

Thank you for such a poetic photograph of what musical servants of the Lord do and why.
Few people can comprehend the hours oc preparation in solitude spent in order for their spirits to be corporately lifted to the Lord for the single hour of worship. In this concise concrete construct, you have captured it.