Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GERMAN BAND, by EARL DERR BIGGERS



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE GERMAN BAND, by            
First Line: Just a german band a-playing in a narrow alley-way
Last Line: Just a german band a-playing in a narrow alley-way.
Subject(s): Bands; Marching & Marches; Music & Musicians; Parades; Patriotism; Orchestras


JUST a German band a-playing in a narrow alley-way —
But the mind of him who hears it travels back to yesterday —
Back across the years of hustle to the homely little town
Where, the village trombone player, in his youth he won renown;
The grimy city fades from sight, while down a village street
He sees the town band coming — hears the melodies so sweet —
"Ole Black Joe" and "Swanee River" and "Since Nellie Went Away" —
Just a German band a-playing in a narrow alley-way.

Just "Die Wacht Am Rhein" a-mingling with the city's heat and noise.
But the man who hears goes marching — marching once more with the "boys."
Now his patriotism's red-hot in a "Glorious Fourth" parade —
Now they play beneath her window a soft "Lover's Serenade";
The wind is in the maples tall that line the street; the moon
Shines down upon the old Town Band, a-winking at the tune,
And in the lull of melody they hear her laughter gay —
Just a German band a-playing in a narrow alley-way.

Just the blare of brass a-crashing up the gloomy heights of brick,
Where the green grass is as rare as grimy little kids are thick,
Where all is rush and rattle, dirt and greed and ceaseless din,
And there's no old-fashioned garden for a man to linger in —
Just "A Hot Time" badly rendered, but the man who's listening sees
The great crowds gathering in the grove beneath the arching trees,
For the old-time "Voters' Rally," where the band so liked to play —
Just a German band perspiring in a narrow alley-way.

Just a comic opera chorus rendered for the loafers' jeers,
But the man up in the window shuts his weary eyes and hears
The old Town Band in action — how they glittered in the sun! —
The buttons on those uniforms that by hard work they'd won;
He hears "Sweet Alice," "Nancy Lee," "My Old Kentucky Home,"
He sees himself there marching with that shiny new trombone,
And on the curb a pretty face — a girl of yesterday —
Just a German band a-playing in a narrow alley-way.





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