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222nd Weekly Poetry Contest winner: The Timpanist (i.m. Alexander Lepak)

by Miles T. Ranter

No gages graced those drums. No need to look
and check. He went on ear alone. The bowls
of hammered copper rumbled so they shook
the auditorium with thunder-rolls
or purred like surf-washed gravel, gently heaving.
We called him “Big Foot.” Working the tuning pedals,
he managed, though a thousand themes were weaving
contrapuntal mischief round the kettles,
to nail his pitches. Lowering his nose
as if he were about to smell the skin
or whisper secrets to it—in this pose,
he’d flick it with a finger, tuning in
to harmony, polyphony and scale,
mount music’s rolling cumuli, and sail.

See all the entrants to 222nd Weekly Poetry Contest