Windmill Song Alone it shudders on a hill, Defiant in the wind. A strong south gale could topple it, A hard rain do it in. Too many years its silver blades Whirled in the morning breeze While spinning far across the plains A song it spun with ease. Those years exacted quite a toll, Yet still this relic stands, To creak and squeak its timeless tune Across now barren lands. The melody remains unchanged, But to a slower beat; The cadence of a world gone by, Its time not to repeat. Hemidemisemiquaver Among life’s puzzlements I know one runs the gamut head to toe. How such a thing was first perceived is not so easily believed… For there’s a note of music played so rapidly it’s oft delayed by virtuosos known to savor hemidemisemiquaver. It’s half a half a half a half of half a note upon the staff; one sixty-fourth of what we call a whole note, if a note at all. Don’t ask of me how this can be a part of musicality; for I don’t play and I don’t favor hemidemisemiquaver. Second Soprano Lament Second soprano Gail was there but, like her part, obscure; with flaccid hair and flesh to spare, yet with a voice so pure that when I heard her sing one time my breath was whisked away. She languished as if not to care behind her section’s leader, Miss Dot McGuire, who ruled the choir with first soprano meter, leading the ladies as they chimed in concert with her sway. Gail on the second row remained as Dot’s solos ascended on soaring strains of high refrains unfettered and unending, and with auspicious confidence that Gail could only covet. Then on a fateful Sunday morn Dot suffered laryngitis. Though quite forlorn, Director Horn assumed his charge to guide us. Not one to sit upon the fence, he summoned Gail above it. She’d sing the solo of the day that was assigned to Dot; and all would say to her dismay that Gail was on the spot. She was a second, not a first, and really quite a shy one. Could she beyond her confines go to handle such a beckoning? How could she know her first solo entailed such frightful reckoning? Still, for the spotlight Gail did thirst as though life’s game she’d won. As intro music filled each nook Gail stood alone and trembling; Her worn choir book severely shook as she began her offering… Then widened eyes were quickly raised, all breaths held as suspended. Oh, where do angels frolicking find time to stop and listen? As though by choice, they heard a voice that made their wingtips glisten. And from their hearts released a praise that only God intended. And when her final notes did fall in omnipresent wonder, Gail held them all within her thrall, all doubts were cast asunder. Obscurity became her past, the second row the first… for from her throat each golden note quenched all her previous thirst. Second soprano she had been to all who knew her name; now she’d ascend to worlds on end in first soprano fame. Don Shook, past president of the Fort Worth Poetry Society is a writer, actor, director and producer who has worked with such stars as Dick Clark, Cybil Shepherd, Debbie Reynolds and Betty Buckley. Formerly with NBC in New York, he has performed in theatre, film and television across the country including Carnegie Hall, New York City and five years as a resident performer at Casa Manana Musicals in Fort Worth. He is the author of five novels and five poetry books and was named by Angels Without Wings as the 2009 Senior Poet Laureate of Texas.