Barry Clegg sent along a poem from his book The Beginning of Time to accompany his interview questions.
The Eyes Have It
In those bold days I understood
almost everything. Pythagoras,
the periodic table, and Sir Isaac taught me:
this and this and this–
The chance to study a musical instrument arose.
With its complex coils of brass,
its heft, pistons, and curves,
the French horn enticed me to a domain
beyond the reach of Science.
A demanding mistress it proved–
surly if neglected, when flattered
willing to pour forth flowing gold,
to weep, whisper endearments,
gallop along with the hunt,
or brazen it out in a brass band.
And fickle withal–triumph and disaster
close as two sides of a coin.
For a decade and a half
we cavorted through the centuries
up to ink-wet manuscripts of the day…
till on a sideways impulse I auditioned
for a first-rate concert choir.
How suddenly splendid to be
splendid, performing to full houses,
broadcast across the country.
The horn was left behind
in its dark case.
As a student once, overdosed
on engineering drawing,
I attempted a portrait of myself.
Having no skill for likeness I
angled out one stolid forthright persona.
To omit the horn would be a deceit.
In that portrait
after fifty years
I detect uncalculated depths:
blocks upon blocks of
inference and deduction,
questioned by that
mercurial instrument –
and the eyes, one geared
for facts and physics,
one more open to doubt.
Here stood then a young man
poised between emotion
and the laws of motion.
Untold youthful adventures
on the high wire of horn playing
Should I ever try a second portrait,
the edges would be softer,
few lines quite so straight.
The eyes are good, though,
and the French horn