Easy to pay attention to a marching band all brassed up and high shine
Trumpeting, with booming tubas and commanding drums,
Strutting out still and sharply in performances that echo the whole noisy shebang,
Out as the world on a march and pause, and sonic joy spreads for it smacks
Of distance, it leaps to it without moving one jot from where it stands.
This as a manifest demo of motionless motion, the capturing
Of an unspread spreadsheet, the full array of background streaming
Each particle involved, each wave noting in itself the mighty score.
We play this out as delectably as hot dogs onions pickles mustard yum,
I’ll have two, and you? and all reach out to catch a share and reach in
In a rushed gobbling down of tasty food this sun struck 4th of July bright beach day.
That band should be the key, but it’s so wind blown out of tune we turn from It
To listen to the plunging sea, wrapped up darts of moon sequenced roars
Burst over us, swamping us, but lifting our dreams; and the piled foam’s lofting
Of rifled breaks scoots the youngsters along on their canvas rafts all the way to shore.
Oh whatever are we to do but laugh and fumble on as we can, yet still we
Pursue the kids and shrilly whistle them to stop, these efforts to bring happiness down mostly fail,
But braked a bit the young swallow the salty green and blue sandy sea-wash, and coughing so choke on
The very stay-puts we promote, for we do not realize that there is no stopping
Of such get along play, leave that impulse to the natural shorings of life,
The rising sand spread to and take from land alone resists the flow that onward
Breaks with the lift, and backward slides it back the entire way,
A returned that turns itself to begin anew that which has already been.
It’s this whole terminating initiating that strikes me so, its slow or quick beats of off and on,
And in that very slump and silence of the shift I bury myself headlong
In a child’s heart, and I find there not anger, not the sop of wet ease or sad pillowing,
At the core of thought or touch, I find instead, beyond all our dashed hopes,
The all at once, the fresh and new, the rips of sound, the billowing tune,
And the band itself at play picks up the beat and blasts away, the whole
Bloom of a corrugated sky, the piccolos and all, the tambourines,
Clarinets, trombones, the all of everything in dazzling sound, all here again,
So much so that we cheer and shake, and the welcoming sky breaks out in light.
All that, band and child can do, but not the grasp of first note born or last note held forever,
And that light burst fades as quickly as the bubbling surf withdraws,
And our certainty too fades into a never was, a greet and gone, and the sea
Continues to speak in wave crack and tumbling roar, and sleep is rarely known.
–by Ken McKeon