It’s Christmas concert time! Oh, joy!
A time when every girl and boy
Shangaied into a junior choir
Raises voice on high–no, higher–
In a shrill cacophony
Of avarice for you and me:
You’d best not cry or pout, they’ll shriek
(About 400 times a week)
‘Cause Santa’s watching, and he’s pissed!
(I paraphrase, but that’s the gist.)
Their choir teachers don’t have time
To coax a melody sublime
From tense preadolescent throats,
But even if they bleat like goats
Or stand and blink instead of singing,
Parents hear the welkin ringing
With the “notes” their children bellow,
Each one louder than the fellow
Next to them, in their own key,
And know, no sound could sweeter be.
Because, of course, it’s up to me, I say:
That isn’t music, that’s just noise with words.
Music is the thing musicians play,
Or Nature, like with waterfalls or birds.
Because it’s up to me, I’ll make this clear:
Your so-called “god” is just a made-up tale.
The real God — mine — inspires faith and fear,
And tells us what it’s like inside a whale.
It’s up to me to tell you what is good,
And so it’s good for you I’m glad to share
My perfect grasp of how a person should
Behave; such generosity is rare.
It’s up to me to tell you how to act,
Except in science class. A fact’s a fact.
I admire people who can paint,
Who aren’t embarrassed when they’re asked to draw.
The Muse of Visual Arts showed true restraint
When gracing me: I earn less awe than, “Aww.”
Likewise the vocal arts, whose patroness
Gave me the skill to hear and recognize
My less-than-perfect pitch, though I confess
I sing despite the sadness in her eyes.
The Literary Muse took pity, though,
And–probably when all the rest had gone–
On me a love of writing did bestow
And charged me thusly: Try to pass it on.
Words are all I have to give away,
So, no, I won’t be shutting up today.
My cat can’t play the violin
Although today she tried. Again.
She’s found a way to grip the bow
With one clawed paw, but there’s just no
Existing mechanism by
Which she can “finger” notes. She’ll try;
When she her deep frustration vents,
Her perfect C’s slight recompense,
Though not enough for her, I fear.
Determination? This is clear:
No matter how much time it takes,
The bows she shreds, the strings she breaks,
Despite all these althoughs and buts,
She won’t give up. My cat’s got guts.
Bowie, Rickman, now Glenn Frey?
The grief machine is stuck
And even now rock purists cry,
They’re country! Eagles suck!
All you need to understand
That calumny’s a crock:
If Jethro Tull’s a metal band
The Eagles played hard rock.
There isn’t much that one can do
When canvas belts encompass you
And tables in the form of trays
For upright status garner praise
In tandem with the backs of seats.
Restricted thusly, one retreats
As wart-shy tots before a toad
Or barnfowl from a just-crossed road
To one’s devices electronic,
Seeking solace in the sonic
Of tunes piped through one’s own head’s phones.
It wasn’t long ago that planes
Provided passengers with strains
Of comfort curated and fed
Through plastic tubes that stretched from head
To armrest–for a princely fee–
But nowadays we rarely see
Air agents hawking rental speakers
To receptive travel-seekers,
Since the lately Savage Beast
That Music soothed is long deceased,
A victim of that appetite
From which Orsino banned respite,
And most of those who might have rented
In-flight calm are quite contented
With the custom minstrelsy
Embodied in an MP3.
Oh, look, the seat belt sign’s alight!
My muse awaits. Enjoy your flight.
When everything is going wrong
Belt out a proud, defiant song!
One day when things are going well
You’ll hear that song, and feel like hell.