Sue Whitmore

The Orchestra
- for Harry Legge OBE


The conductor kicks off, his magnificent pate
Glows like an egg in the light;
At the back the poor bass try to follow his pace,
With percussion to left and to right.

In attacking formation the fiddles join in -
Play the theme off pitch but with soul;
With a duck and a swerve, and plenty of verve,
The violas end up with a goal.

For a while the bassoon has to carry the tune,
Though when tackled it falls from her grip;
So the brass, with a pass, dribble off up the grass,
But drop it again when they trip.

The piccolo's sick as a parrot -
And the flutes cannot add to the score -
The red card's been shown to the stand-in trombone
And the fans keep on chanting 'One more';

Cymbal and oboe are both stretchered off -
How much injury time has been reckoned?
With a rising crescendo it comes to an end -
Oh, they've won, and Tchaikowsky's come second


The maestro raises his baton
And the fiddles set off too soon;
Coming in with a start
They launch into their part
Out of time, out of sync, out of tune.

Vera's astride her cello,
And galloping into the night
In pursuit - quite forlorn -
Of a handsome French horn,
Whose lipping is nimble and light.

The tuba is farting about at the back
With the harp - who's no angel delight;
When they've played the last coda
It's off in the Skoda
To party the rest of the night.

The flautist's not choosy -
A bit of a floozie,
Her embouchure's pretty well-known;
With consummate skill
In tonguing and trill
She flirts with the second trombone.

The finale's an orgy - a tutti,
A fruity crescendo, too forte, too fast;
When the piece was rehearsed
It was Beethoven's First
But now it's like Birtwhistle's last.