The Snare Drummer’s Plight
The highlight of the evening is Bolero.
The snare drummer begins the famous beat,
the marrow of the land of the torero.
The players, who have sprayed themselves with Deet,
ignore the insects swarming in the light
or lighting on the scores. The music’s bite
and lyric passion build each bar, with singing
strings, winds, and brass — while buzzing bugs seek meat.
One gently touches down and starts to eat
blood from the snare drum player’s nose. The stinging
clings like a picador’s sharp lance of worry.
How can he stop to scratch? His part must never
cut out. Time’s poky arrow will not hurry.
Bolero! May it live — not last — forever.
by Martin J. Elster, first published in Verse Wisconsin.
Editor’s Note: The poet included the name of the form for this poem, Stefanile triadic sonnet, and it is quite complex. This poem’s lighthearted narrative is an excellent example of how the best formal poems transcend their form, and speak to the reader despite the strictness of meter and rhyme.