At the Grape Bowl Festival of Bands - Cecil Morris

On this fall day washed clean by wind and rain,
in this parking lot of this old high school,
everything gleams, every instrument,
every uniform, every young musician.
Every valve and stop, every bell and curving throat,
whether brass or chrome, all sparkle

in the sun, all glitter and glint at every step,
syncopating sound with light.
Every glossy-sided drum, big or small,
every hoop and tension post,
every white-taped drum stick flashes,
rhythm flaring through the lot.
Every uniform looks newly loomed,
clean and crisp as this day, each button
and buckle twinkles, each braid and tassel,

each badge and banner winks with sun.
So, when they march off, each shined shoe in step,
they coruscate, their music scintillates ‒
our own children made of light and sound,
giving both back to us in this parade
of our best wishes.

Cecil Morris wiles away his retirement – after thirty-seven years of teaching high school English! – reading, writing, and riding his bike which doesn’t move through a scenery of podcasts and boredom. Having lived most of his life in the wide and presently arid central valley of California, he likes to escape to ocean beaches. He continues to favor the bright colors he wore in order to stand out on school field trips. Right now, he might be reading a novel by Louise Erdrich or poetry by Sharon Olds (or David Kirby or Tony Hoagland or Maggie Smith) or trying to learn the names of all the birds that visit the yard he shares with his indulgent partner, the mother of their children (including the son who played the snare in the marching band years and years ago).