Dan Campion



Sometimes an orchestra must sit quite still
and let the soloist maintain the spell.
To sit or stand in silence is a skill
too little noticed. All bands do it well
enough, and some excel. A soloist,
too, must sit out some bars composers give
massed forces. Sulking there as if dismissed
won’t play. Musicians learn to rest, to live.
Offstage, things seldom work that way. One voice
is raised, a chorus drowns it out, the crowd
joins in, and one is left with little choice
but plug the ears, or flee. The world’s too loud.
Still, some insist a genius wrote this score.
But who thinks soundly, numbed by ceaseless roar?


Today you’ll find me in a pique,
A mood where humor irks.
The poems of the day and week,
The wittiest of works,
All pinch or nettle. Why, you ask,
Have I been so affected
My features twist, a tragic mask?
My verses were rejected.

Dan Campion is the author of A Playbill for Sunset (Ice Cube Press) and the monograph Peter De Vries and Surrealism (Bucknell University Press) and is coeditor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song (Holy Cow! Press). His poems have appeared widely. The Mirror Test (poems) is forthcoming from MadHat Press. Dan lives in Iowa City, Iowa.