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Listening to Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite

By John I. Blair

When I listen to music by Ferde Grofe
(Not just any Ferde Grofe,
I'm talking here about the
Grand Canyon Suite),
Time telescopes for me.

Once again I'm listening to a Silvertone radio
With a streamlined plywood cabinet.
It's 1945 and the NBC Symphony is on the air.
I wonder where they are playing
And how the War is going.

Once again I'm sitting in my third-grade class in 1949
With our music teacher, Mrs. Gay.
She tells us to see the music in our minds;
And I imagine mules running down a trail
And a thunderstorm drenching canyon walls.

Once again I'm eating popcorn in the Orpheum movie palace,
In Wichita, Kansas, in 1952,
Watching the colorful clouds in Fantasia
Race across the screen in sped-up motion,
Which makes me a bit dizzy.

Once again I'm riding home (just last week)
In rush-hour traffic at 6:00 p.m.
While the DJ on WRR, "Your Classical Music Station,"
Plays just the Sunset section
As we actually watch the sun set.

And I'm sitting here right now,
Listening to a CD on my PC,
Still feeling everything I've ever felt
About this music
In 60 years of loving it.

John I. Blair, 3/18/2002  

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