Barbara DuBois, a member of Las Cantantes and of the Rio Abajo Poets, won first prize in the Artists Embassy International Dancing Poetry contest. She was invited to San Francisco to receive her award and prize, and she read her winning poem in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the 18th Annual Dancing Poetry Festival.
One, two, three, four, cum sancto spiritu . . .
We are a women’s choral group
practicing the Gloria,
two sopranos sound angelic on the duet.
Sometimes we have three sopranos, but two are enough, and we hope neither contracts laryngitis or loses a family member.
Sue, second soprano, at a rehearsal suggested a
break because the work is intense.
But we break frequently to gossip
or report on a member’s absence.
We try to be sedate but a woman may make a hilarious comment
and we all scatter like sheep.
The director has to herd us back in line.
When we finally settle down,
she interrupts to announce
that her daughter is coming
to rehearse us in two weeks.
(We won’t be ready.)
Sometimes we may be singing along when the director has trouble turning the page, and we have to start over.
Tonight the director has brought several new pieces,
pops and spirituals, to give us a rest.
But she doesn’t understand: she began with the new pieces, instead of using them in the middle as a break.
Often she interrupts our practice with logistics: who might join us, who has a cold. She is a marvel at playing all our parts at once, but she always complains that she can’t really do it and she explains how hard it is.
We spend time praising her and denying her denials.
We’ll never be ready by Christmas.