Friday, August 10, 2012

Poetry Friday: The Junior High School Band Concert

This poem makes me laugh and cringe a little as I get ready for my middle schoolers to descend on my classroom on Monday. What a wonderful, terrible time of life those early teens are. I wouldn't go there again for any money myself, but I get to experience it vicariously every year through my students.

The Junior High School Band Concert
by David Wagoner

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 through our crossfire.

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.

Here's the rest, and you can also hear the author reading the poem at that link.

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.

6 comments:

Mary Lee said...

Priceless! So much truth!!

Linda at teacherdance said...

I didn't remember you taught that age, Ruth, me, too. And I agree I wouldn't return, but loved teaching the age. This poem is terrific, and I laughed when I read "By the last lost chord, our director
Looked older and soberer." I was in band from 6th thro' high school-a marvelous time, but now I wonder what those directors did when they must have had other music in their ears, just as your poet said. Best wishes for the start of the year, and thank you for the poem.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Hi Ruth, my own ten year old will be in 5th grade next week, so I understand exactly what you mean. Hormones, hormones! Will share this poem with her.

Tabatha said...

One of my kids is starting middle school this year and I am a bit apprehensive for her. It's a good thing to keep our senses of humor! Thanks for this poem :-)

Violet N. said...

All the best as you start back to school. Here in Canada we have another three weeks till school starts though our summer break starts at the end of June. I so remember the feeling of having to back after summer break when I was teaching...the same kind of dazed feeling those kids in the orchestra have, I think.

Liz Steinglass said...

Hilarious and cringe-worthy for certain. I think I was at that concert.