The Last Round-up
by Kate Foley

          Mariss Jansons conducts Mahler at the Concertgebouw for the last time

A bareback rider in a circus of sound,
ribbons coursing through his subtle hands,
he keeps the violins swaying in their traces.
His cowboy legs bent at the knee,
he’s galloping faster than his bones can.

In flows the wind, waving sea-deep
over the cantering strings, while
the harp plucks pebbles of notes
and lobs them onshore.

We, who have shed our coats
in the cloakroom, must now
remove our skins, take off
our every day ears,

lay them down, queer little
pink shells, another gift
to follow our hearts,
already thrown.