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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.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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