Turning the Blank Pages

It was all good for the first three and a half minutes.
He led the orchestral intro from the bench
by waving his arms and bobbing his head
while I turned the pages.
No one was paying attention to me.
Then the orchestra fell silent.
Hr. v. B. launched into his solo part
and I swung open the next page…to nothing.
It was page after blank page
with just the occasional hieroglyphic note
that meant something to him
but nothing to me.

I panicked.
How was I to know
when one blank page ended
and another blank page began?
He took delight in my troubles,
but was kind enough to give me
a surreptitious nod
whenever we came to the end of emptiness.

The concert was a success.
No man was a better friend than Beethoven
when he was in a jolly mood.
I cherish the memory of his howls of laughter
at our convivial dinner after the concert!

Time brings an end to all living things.
Beethoven is gone now.
My own health is fragile.
That night in Vienna when I turned pages
for a generational genius—
unsure of what was coming next,
but surrounded by music most sublime
and encouraged by his bemused glance
at just the right moments—
was a key life lesson.
When we wake up in the morning
or start a new year,
we don’t have a score to follow.
We put our trust in the Master at the keyboard
giving us celestial music and surreptitious nods
as we turn the blank pages of our lives.

Hr. v. B. = Herr van Beethoven

NOTE: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 was first performed on April 5, 1803. Ignaz von Seyfried was Beethoven’s page turner.

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New poetry, Bud and Mary

This collection of poems is about my parents, De Forest “Bud” Baldwin and Mary Dondro Baldwin.

To open the collection of poems, click THIS.

To open the index of poem titles, haiku, and tanka, click THIS.

If you would like to comment about the poetry or contact me, you can reach me at davebaldwin37@gmail.com.

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