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Conducting the Music
At age twelve he lifted a thin stick,
gripped its cork handle, tapped on the mantelpiece
bowed into the gilt framed mirror
fingers raised, he glanced at the waiting audience
his Labrador on the armchair wagged its tail.
Following the baton in perfect timing
the music rushed out, at first four
short drum beats, followed by the strings
framing an introductory theme
then a short violin solo introducing
the full massed might of the orchestra.
He laughed in ecstasy – waved his arms
furiously – the brass and tympani responded
perfectly as into the finale they crashed together
wave after wave in an ocean of melody.
He removed the 78rpm record from the phonograph
wiped his brow, took the dog for a walk.
Sixty years later he’s still at it
radio blaring Tchaikovsky and Beethoven
now he’s brandishing a kitchen fork in the air
marching up and down waving his arms
and whistling along with the recording.
Who knows where he’ll be in twenty years –
up in the clouds, lightning rod in hand
conducting the angels probably.
Mon Dieu! What a performance that will be.
© Johnmichael Simon
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