Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Sackbut Player's Solo

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Karlene at Heart and Soul
Be sure to stop over there for more inspirational fiction.

The Sackbut Player’s Solo
By Beth LaBuff – April 2009
Topic: Up and Down

The concert hall’s grand elegance
With velvet seats and lacquered wood,
And silence echoed off the walls
In hushed anticipation.

A poster promised classics from
L. van Beethoven’s repertoire.
The concert time was eight o’clock,
Announced the invitation.

“Come hear the modern debut,
An historic instrument
Unearthed near ancient Babylon,
A recent excavation.”

This four-stringed sackbut had survived
With two strings missing, two intact.
Harp from Nebuchadnezzar’s band
And Daniel’s generation.

The sackbut player’s grand entrance,
He held the cherished artifact.
A gasp rose from the audience,
A spellbound fascination.

But where to seat the sackbut? –
The dilemma of this age.
Among the flutes? … one flautist, though
Did flaunt his aggravation.

The maestro wildly waved his arms.
Musicians readied for their song.
An upbeat, first …the downbeat, next,
Con brio orchestration.

At center stage the player stood,
His instrument, he cradled.
The string he plucked was rusted through
And snapped from oxidation.

‘Twas the middle of the coda,
A shocked silence filled the hall.
The sackbut player’s starched white shirt
Was drenched with perspiration.

A flush crept up the maestro’s face
His anger …seven times hotter.
A handkerchief cooled down his brow
And saved him from cremation.

The sackbut player’s head hung down.
The flautist glowered, showed contempt.
And through a sneer he snidely said,
“Don’t quit your day vocation.”

When it was feared the song had failed
Sackbutist’s fingers slowly plucked
The fragile sole-surviving string,
Grateful for preservation.

A mellow note, melodious,
It soared and drifted ‘round the hall.
Not heard for three millennia,
This musical sensation.

The audience burst out, jumped up,
With accolades and praises.
Down in their seats they plunked again
For encore’s presentation.

But with profuse applause, a draft.
The music drifted off the stands,
The hasty grab for music sheets
Left discombobulation.

In the confusion, songs were swapped,
The parts redistributed.
Musicians puzzled o’er new notes—
A heart-sick palpitation.

The flautist’s shock showed in his eyes,
He blamed the sackbut player,
And in derision hurled at him
A frothed expectoration.

Despite the classics’ muddle
And the mixed-up sour notes,
The sackbut’s voice resounded
To the listeners’ elation.

Moonlight Sonata, Ode to Joy,
The jumbled songs’ cacophony.
Anachronistic re-debut,
A modern fascination.

One thing the world may never know,
Did “Sackbut’s Ode Sonata”
Cause Beethoven to roll over?
There’ll be no exhumation.

It is believed that the “sackbut” of Biblical times (Daniel 3—KJV)
was a triangular stringed musical instrument. It is also translated “lyre.”
written for a writing challenge
inspiration from:
Daniel 3:5
That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp,
sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick,
ye fall down and worship the golden image that
Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up. (King James Version)


Dee Yoder said...

Oh my goodness, Beth! Where DID you ever get the words that fill this poem from top to bottom?! As usual, very good. I've missed your excellent poetry, Girl!

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Hilarious, Beth! I loved this, especially the way the words sounded together. You are a brilliant poet/storyteller! (Hope you enjoyed your company.)

Karlene Jacobsen said...

This poem is beautiful, masterful. I love how as I read aloud, there was music playing in my head.

Lynda S. said...

I remember reading this one when you posted it for the Challenge. Incredible giftedness in putting this together. It was such fun, too.

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, Beth. Classic - love the rhyme scheme and the story and just EVERYTHING!

Sherri Ward said...

You have quite a talent for this, Beth! Very cute! Never suspected it was the lyre!

Hoomi said...

Wonderfully delightful, Beth. I need to send the link to this one to my flute teacher!

Patty Wysong said...

ROFL--I am soooo glad you told me what a sackbut is! Too funny! Just the name 'sackbut' cracks me up! *grin* Will I ever see lyre (did I spell that right? LoL) without giggling again?