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Symphony Number Eleven

(Saint Petersburg, 1905)

    Adagio: The Palace Square.

Cold and quiet the crowd of cellos
gathers like snow in the clouds,
menace of timpani rumble,
an earthquake beneath the square,
a call of brass from some distant place.

    Allegro: The Ninth of January.

A restlessness of burning violins,
a swirling blizzard, a sudden riot
of snare drums like gunfire,
timpani horses thunder,
to the march and clash of gleaming brass,
a panic of piccolos and woodwinds.

    Adagio: Eternal Memory

A bent mother searches among the thump of drums
in the quiet dark of deserted streets,
picks through remnants of shattered violas,
crushed bass clarinets and trampled flutes
for her son, the harpist, who lies frozen,
stretched over the splintered carcass
of his wrecked and ruined instrument.

    Adagio non troppo: Tocsins

Tocsins toll in the churches,
a call in resilient G minor,
call to a future of violent trumpets,
trombones, cymbals of power, tubular bells,
celesta and strings but, for now,
the music is tacet in the square.


Symphony No. 11, OP 103 D. Shostakovich

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Source of the Huron

Layers of fog
     early morning
          a gauze bandage

covering a wound of swamp
     shallow bowl of cat tail
          common reed

lily pad
     duck weed
          Siberian iris

long hollow stems
     of snake grass like
          miniature shafts of bamboo.

Frogs, snakes, muskrat
     fawn twins
          brought to drink

by a nervous mother,
     alert, ears twitching
          Heron fishing

lifts one leg carefully
     lowering it down again
          into sucking soft ooze

of mucky bottom
     disturbing nothing
          hunching its long body

peering into unmoving water.
     How different from the miles
           downstream where Henry Ford

imprisoned the dark water
     behind his concrete dam
          to power a factory no longer there.

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Max

He seemed just another drunk
on a stool at the end of the bar
every night until closing time.

Once he was a pilot.
There is a photo of him
on the wing of a P-36
that he didn’t get off the ground
at Pearl Harbor.

He did a little carpentry after that,
spent little time with his delicate wife
and their three sturdy sons.
He tended a small garden and watched
as life slowly dried like dew.

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No Wonder I Drink

"No wonder I drink." Perry White reached into the bottom drawer of his desk, pulled out a bottle of rye, good rye, and a small glass and poured himself three fingers of the golden liquid.  "Great Cesar’s ghost," he muttered into the glass, "they’re killing me".

"Lois Lane has been taken hostage (third time this year) and, as usual, Clark Kent is nowhere to be found.  Why can I never find my so called ace reporter when I need him the most?  The early edition is due on the street in an hour and I’ve got nothing for page one. The Daily Planet is going to hell in hand basket. In fact, the whole damned city of Metropolis is going with it. I guess I should have taken that job in Chicago. At least at The Tribune I would be working with Brenda Starr.”