Sunday, June 10, 2007

Do you remember what it was like back then?

I hope you have been keeping up on your poetry (except for those still waiting for their poetry books from me, shame on me!).

To continue keeping your poetry muscle strong, please enjoy this piece courtesy of The Writer's Almanac — and wax nostalgic about those golden junior high school years.

(You can stop laughing. Were they really that bad? Let me check out my eighth grade yearbook and — oh, my. Okay, continue laughing. I'll join you in a moment, once I stop weeping for the awful fashion sense of the passing decades.)

After you return from Memory Lane, let me know what you've been reading and I will tell you the same. Check out my other blog entries — tell me what you think and tell me what moves you to emotion. I will try to be more prolific and give you more reasons to return to this blog, including the occasional poetic morsel.

The Junior High School Band Concert

When our semi-conductor
Raised his baton, we sat there
Gaping at Marche Militaire,
Our mouth-opening number.
It seemed faintly familiar
(We'd rehearsed it all that winter),
But we attacked in such a blur,
No army anywhere
On its stomach or all fours
Could have squeezed though our cross fire.

I played cornet, seventh chair
Out of seven, my embouchure
A glorified Bronx cheer
Through that three-keyed keyhole stopper
And neighborhood window slammer
Where mildew fought for air
At every exhausted corner,
My fingering still unsure
After scaling it for a year
Except on the spit-valve lever.

Each straight-faced mother and father
Rested his moral fiber
Against our traps and slurs
And the inadvertent whickers
Paradiddled by our snares,
And when the brass bulled forth
A blare fit to horn over
Jericho two bars sooner
Than Joshua's harsh measures,
They still had the nerve to stare.

By the last lost chord, our director
Looked older and soberer.
No doubt, in mind's ear
Some band somewhere
In some Music of some Sphere
Was striking a note as pure
As the wishes of Franz Schubert,
But meanwhile here we were:
A lesson in everything minor,
Decomposing our first composer.

by David Wagoner, from Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems. © University of Illinois Press, 1999.

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