At the rehearsal

I chose to cross over from thumb to second finger
Between the F♭ and D♭ in measure 29,
Executed with due diligence at a metronome marking of 180,
So why at the rehearsal did you,
Yes, second finger of the right hand, trod on D?

So much care I poured over you these past weeks,
Day after day on measure 29,
And today you squander my assiduous attention in one-third of a second.

Now I turn my riveting eye
To you, third finger of the left hand—
Where did that unwritten marcato arise on the G♭ in measure 19?
There, where the melody is meant to slide like clear mercury across a waxed floor?
Why did you choose to accent that off-beat note?
I do not grant agency to any body part below the jaw,
Which, I will note, clenched with embarrassment when you played G♭ marcato.

And you, right foot,
You who tapped impatiently most of the day leading up to the rehearsal,
Why were you suddenly laggard on the downbeat of measure 42,
Where you were supposed to pump just prior to it?
Did you not hear that the augmented fifth was resolving to a dominant triad?
Were you asleep on the pedal?
You augmented that fifth too much,
Letting it bleed into the triad.

I have had enough of all of you.
Why do you torment me,
Who is trying only to make a score express its secrets?
Do you wish to keep them concealed from the uncouth crowd?
Do you count the beauty too overpowering to release from the soundboard?
Do you fear you could not survive the perfection of the heart’s yearning?
Is that why you tolerate
Drawing down the imprecations of the conductor?

This poem was published in the Fall 2021 issue of WhimsicalPoet: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry.

Andy Oram
March 7, 2021

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