THE HIGH-SCHOOL BAND DIRECTOR
CONDUCTS THE GRAND CANYON SUITE
In a near crouch, he begins diminished,
pianissimo, calls for a single piccolo
to whistle the sunrise out of hiding.
He knows there's time enough for flight,
for clarinets and saxophones to explicate.
The point is to rise and let unfold
so at the end he overwhelms himself.
In the painted desert, his voice is heard
in plaintive supplication to the oboe-gods
for bloom of dust and ocotillo.
On the trail, tall in the saddle,
he rides a serenade to sunset
where, transmogrified on wings of artifice,
he is Daedalus, soaring to largo,
percussion, repercussion of cloudburst
and dreams of tympani
broad and booming as the desert sky.
Oh, window-rattling, lip-splitting,
exorbitant breakthrough of horn and trumpet!
Our Director rises on his toes, as he must,
molto vivace, lifted on scales of exultation
only armies and the sweetest angels know.
Eyes closed, he lowers the baton and bows;
his life is organized and good.
Steeped in applause, he knows that no one
needs an encore to magnificence. But still,
"The Overture of 1812" might be of use.