The Symphony of Me


It opens allegretto lively arpeggios as an oboe solo.
The stage is strewn with Marguerites.
This opening movement begins in sets of call-responses in G major.
In sonata form, it advances to a minor key played by strings,
rising to a frantic crescendo then culminating by the repeat of that plaintive oboe.

The second movement continues in lilting 6/8 waltz time,
a melody having a lazy dreaminess shifting in and out of keys in major and minor;
midway through, the tempo changes to a set of quick mood swings.
The latter part takes up themes from the first movement once again changing keys.
Built with clarity and steady rhythms the closing melody shines sublime.

The third section sings in andante cantabile, a fugato of four voices:
a constant swirling and weaving of themes, each voice expressing different things.
Each playing in counterpoint to the others but the whole accelerating to a Viennese.
The figures circle then return to andante, each song highlighted in razor
sharp relief before being united one last time as each instrument rejoices.

The last section, full blown allegro vivace, hearkens nature’s sounds.
Beginning with flutes and clarinets to mimic mockingbirds and parakeets;
the melody raises the initial plaintive tune as each motif becomes a treasure.
The rise and falls are like sun and moon, the turns, rotations; the starts and endings–
lullabies ascend into strains that arc to triple forte, a conclusion that knows no bounds.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 9.11.2014 * All Rights Reserved
Posted for d’Verse Poets hosted today by Karin Gustafson. The prompt is an extended metaphor. The form is a Karousel which was invented by David James. See my article here:

34 thoughts on “The Symphony of Me

  1. what a very cool idea… life as a piece of music… love the dynamic in this… the changing as well… each time having its specific beat and tunes… oh what a glorious symphony gay!!

    • Thank you Claudia. It’s “hot” off the press – no revisions, no fixes but I liked working in that Karousel form. It serves me well every time I use it. I’m happy you thought it was successful. Your comments always mean so much to me.

  2. For those of us unschooled in symphonic techo-speak, this swirling musical metaphor is like traveling to a foreign landscape, where all the sights & sounds are alien & new; wow, what a piece, what an imaginative take on Karin’s prompt.

    • Beethoven V – cut my teeth on that Symphony and came to the Shostakovich later. Love them both still though I play sonatas and concerti more these days. I have so many favorites..Mozart always calls to me. His music has been my lifelong friends.

      • Mahler – so moody, so deep. I am playing Chopin again these days along with little Beethoven pieces and a very difficult Schubert Walzen. It’s beating up my thumbs but I WILL conquer it. Smiles I love pieces by all three – especially love the Shostakovitch Golden Age Ballet pieces. They are enchanting!

  3. I so wish I was musically inclined enough to hear this….then I could picture you standing there reading this as the surrounding music ebbs and flows at your comand. a stunning and entrancing (even if I can’t hear the music) write.

  4. No need to break it down as the whole piece resonates strongly, each stanza with its own beat & cadence ~ I am in awe of your writing Gay ~ This is such a fine example of the prompt ~

  5. Wow, somehow I think we could all write our own symphony…deciding on the different movements that express our lives. I’d have to think about this for a while, but I really would like my last movement to be Andante, not Largo. Smiles.

    • Easier said than done I’m afraid – staying andante should be the goal. I saw men in their 80s in Lake Placid they were running allegro. But somewhere along the way my step has slowed, hopefully not the brain quite yet.

  6. You managed to include the whole songbook here, all Works and Days … can a mind, a heart, a life, a poetry be leveraged into “one amassing harmony,” as Wallace Stevens said? You’ve proved it. The chromatics and dynamics of each stanza are florid, and the whole is more “Firebird Suite” than “Canon in D”–while that lonely oboe keeps on keepin’ on. Great stuff, Gay. The metaphor is like that repeating theme in “Bolero.”

    • Have to say when I feel empty and not a poet – I turn to W. Stevens. Never can quite reach his heights but I admire his work and his thought. Well I can hope my life is more like Stravinsky’s soaring music and Ravel too and yes there is that ever increasing drumbeat and repeating motif, but unlike the Master in Dr.Who I am not bothered much by it. Ha. Thanks Brendan for coming by and reading.

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