The grapefruit in the Florida orchard
has ripened into a globe in Hartford
for him to look at, not to eat.
If he had a tin can he would beat
it as a drummer in a band beats
his drum and steadily with a swish
and sometimes a gong. It’s his wish
to escape from gray walls and sky
sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox
Today in 1862
Claude Debussy was born.
I remember where I was and what I was doing
one hundred years and two months later:
elementary algebra, trombone practice,
Julius Caesar on the record player
with Brando as Antony, simple
buttonhook patterns in football,
the French subjunctive, and the use
of "quarantine" rather than "blockade"
during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
It was considered the less belligerent word.
Much was made of it in 1962,
centenary of Debussy’s birth.
And if today I play his Rhapsody
for Saxophone and Orchestra
for the ten minutes it requires of
my undivided attention, who will attack me for
living in Paris in 1908 instead of now?
Let them. I'll take my stand,
my music stand, with the composer
of my favorite Danse Tarantelle.