V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics



(Chicago, July 25, 1999)


Arriving well before sunset, we compose part
of the 1st movement—listeners proceeding
accelerando toward the band shell, resolving
poco a poco to folding chairs in a familiar
arrangement by the Park Department.

The players gather allegro, cradling instruments,
finding their chairs.  Highlighted by banks
of spotlights, they run fingers and lips over
discordant preludes.  Stand-lights shine on scores
of music anchored by clips against the wind.

We, a mixed audience, sit still for the heavy bass
and black chords of Still's Symphony No. 2:
"Song of a New Race," a major work in G Minor.
Off-stage, a wren sings in a relative key,
an O'Hare-bound 727 drones overtones.

At the sun's closing diminuendo in the West
and the moon's growing crescendo in the East,
we hear Liszt's Piano Concerto not only
with piano but tintinnabulations of a triangle!
The 8:15 South Shore makes tracks with whistles.

As a divertimento, a virtuoso hummingbird hums
an impromptu cadenza with its wings,       hovers
like a bee, and with a beak longer than its tail,
sips nectar from petunias at the edge of the stage.
Unprogrammed Harleys rev up on Columbus Drive.

Cleaners light nearby office buildings con fuoco.
Fireflies glow animato nearby.  The conductor
evokes the sounds of human feelings from the finale—
Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10.  We brood
and rejoice, rant and celebrate in counterpoint.

After applauding fortissimo, we disperse andante
into the dark.  Conducted leggiero by bright
street lights to the el or to our cars, orchestral
encores still ring in our inner ears among the traffic.

© by Bernhard Hillila


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