Turners of Pages
by Geoff Page
What is it they are thinking of,
these turners of pages?
Why the scuttle not the stride,
following the claps and bowing,
to perch there like a sparrow watching
dots take off as music?
Does their concentration waver
with each wild accelerando?
Do they hear the song or songbird
soaring to the ceiling?
Should they wait the pianist's nod
or just precede it slightly?
Should they finger-lick the page
or gently twist its corner?
Might a lifted elbow be
too awkward there above the score?
And what about that trick repeat,
the sudden flurry backwards?
Do such silent-movie thoughts
secrete an inner grin?
Is it always with chagrin
they see themselves left off the program?
Do they practise in their dreams,
hearing just the swish of paper?
Do they hope one day to have
a turner of their own?
Don't they wince at times to hear
a moderato pushed to presto?
Do they wonder why their princeling
cannot learn the piece completely?
What exactly are the thoughts
with which they slip away,
following such loud approval,
none of it for them?
How low, precisely, should they bow
should the singer or their pianist,
arms filled up with sound and flowers,
nod to them to share the praise?
Why does invisibility
so thoroughly resist them?
And, somewhere in your life, you too
have turned your modicum of pages.