These harmonic failures are instruments,
These minor chords, the pattern; though I’ve never known the key.
I’ve played them well and played them wrong at turns,
The notes not set to page until they’d pierced the dread nocturne.
In black and white for all the world to see;
But do they hear my intent, the missteps, experiments?

The prelude began on a Nashville night;
The first movement ended on a Mississippi highway.
Hard to tell who was leading, who followed:
Was the harmony first, that conceited conceit borrowed?
And was it so proud, or far and away,
Like ancient eagle’s wings mounted for a storied first flight?

The adagio has ended by now,
More near than allegro, that distant, confused sonata.
A minuet is forming, still nascent,
Unorganized in scale, thematically bent on ascent,
Driven on by self-imposed stigmata.
The end will bring no curtain call, no bow.

Why does meaning sometime not fit with form?
Why will each instrument sound new though only play one song?
Thought I was leading: the wave’s crest of foam;
But I deceived myself, for I was being led back home.
The conductor waves, seems to play along,
And I will ever strike the chords which complicate the norm.


 

Hear Brian Niece read this poem ::

 


 

Thank you for reading the poem “Backleading.” Here are some other poems I’ve written: The Outsiders’ LamentA Prayer for Those of Us Who Struggle with PrideA Meditation Regarding Change.
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