Rehearsing "The Flying
The Maestro struts on stage in tight
Black pants; he tips the hardware store
Stool he's settled on; the score
Of ocean pitches forth the night,
And helmsman, sailors, and their girls
Carouse (right after lunch) and laugh
At sturm und klipp welling from staff
And line. The Maestro rashly hurls
Himself into a sea that Wagner'd
Have us drown in. But with a gasp
He stills the waves, enough to grasp
Another ship, upstage, anchored
To gloom and death and lost salvation.
He calls the whole thing off. Too slow,
He shouts, for this diminuendo,
The deathship that destroys elation.
Take five! We don't know why you're cursed,
Doleful Dutchman. We've come mid-act
Like you - why nothing will distract
You from your role, too well rehearsed.
The Maestro's from Milan, my box-
Mates claim. The chorus finds his silly
Faces charming. I think, South Philly,
Catching his fingers pat the buttocks
Brushing by of lovely red-haired
Senta, whose faithful love alone
Can lift the Dutchman's curse. Viols groan
Regaining tune. We're unprepared
When her soprano surges to
A crest. The shock waves ripple and rake
The grand Academy; they shipwreck
The free-floating qualm that urges to
Deny, deny, that we are saved,
Like rescued sailors hauled to port.
I join musicians, bobbing apart,
They leave their watch, no more enslaved
To score, baton, or measured phrase,
As Senta, warding off a cold,
Halts her aria to unfold
A handkerchief, and so delays
This afternoon's one last refrain.
Whatever chance there was to lift
Some curse now sinks or goes adrift,
As horns' and woodwinds' waters drain.
If you've any comments on this poem, Leonard Kress would be pleased to hear from you.