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Horn Solo

A man comes to a nearby wood to play the horn.
French horn, in France. We gladly hear, on summer days,
borne on the breeze, the repertoire of tunes he plays:
Vivaldi, Schubert, Schumann, Mozart, Haydn, Strauss.

Why does he choose to come so far? Perhaps the scorn
of deafened urban neighbours drives him from the house.
Perhaps his wife, to keep peace in the street, says, ‘Dear,
you can’t do proper justice to your talent here.
The philistines next door do nothing but complain.
How much more sweetly would that soulful serenade
or that sonata echo in a sylvan glade
than in this horrid, badly soundproofed maisonette.’

The urban neighbours’ quiet is our rural gain.
It’s true, the player’s not a master of his art.
The jerky snatches stammer, falter, stop and start.
We rarely hear a long legato phrase. And yet
‘my heart leaps up’ in gratitude when toots and trills
grace, all the afternoon, our local fields and hills.