Stalking Anacrusis, Staying Upbeat – by Laurie Klein


“Ana-what-sis,” you ask?

Also translated “upbeat,” anacrusis signifies a pickup or lead-in: the notes and/or words preceding a song’s downbeat, like the “A” in “Amazing Grace,” or the initial, unstressed syllable(s) before a poem’s meter kicks in.

Un-stressed? Amid perilous weather, school shootings, and civil unrest, I am trying to enter each day’s silent, unsung anacruses: that head-bowing pause after “Let’s pray”; the fiery evanescence when the setting sun clones itself through a flawed windowpane; the prolonged gaze at a skipped stone, how it scallops the sweltering air. Even the comedic cut-off of breath as a sneeze aborts (Does my heart really stop?). From the suspense between coin-toss-and-call to an awed glimpse of love-in-action—”Can you ever forgive me?” then the breathless wait for an answer—I want to relish lulls, their liminal space, no matter how fleeting.

Will I lean into the next intake of breath, the wordless upbeat? Perhaps raise my own imagined baton? Nothing less than a soul reboot may hinge on this.

Imagine the pin-drop, fractional pause before “I do.” One way or another, Love is always proposing . . .