This poem was published in The Poetry Review, winter issue, 2017.

The Maestro

by Hisham Bustani

translated by Thoraya El-Rayyes

The musicians finished playing the symphony. They stood up and bowed before the eagerly clapping audience, then started collecting their instruments. Only the conductor was still troubled. Still agitated. Still tapping his baton against his hand nervously.

I am not yet finished, he said to himself.

I am not yet finished, and little by little batches of people withdrew from the auditorium – their chattering voices getting louder.

I am not yet finished, and clanging instruments returned to their cases disturbing the background.

I am not yet finished, and the piano player smiled at the cymbalist – they were about to go on a date.

I am not yet finished, and he looked at the pages before him – the music still falling from them.

Alone, he stayed behind after they all left and when he lifted his baton he heard the opera house walls collapse – its paintings, mouldings, balconies. He heard high, sweeping waves breaking over the chairs spread out before him.

He waved his baton and sent storms spinning.

Tilted it right so that lightning flashed and thunder struck.

Tilted it left so that rain hammered down.

When the Maestro stretched out his baton over the middle, the music divided to open a path for him and so he walked. And when he reached the other bank, the music closed behind him.

He pointed at the middle again, and returned.

Returned to his podium, collected his papers and exited through the backdoor mumbling:

I am not yet finished.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

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Cat photos, ragu, memes - we chat with Rishi Dastidar @BetaRish in advance of the workshop that he's running at the Free Verse fair this Saturday on the all-important question of how to get noticed in the poetry world bit.ly/getaheadinpoet…

test Twitter Media - Cat photos, ragu, memes - we chat with Rishi Dastidar @BetaRish in advance of the workshop that he's running at the Free Verse fair this Saturday on the all-important question of how to get noticed in the poetry world https://t.co/BQb05rGMx1 https://t.co/zaQQlDpv4w
test Twitter Media - Cat photos, ragu, memes - we chat with Rishi Dastidar @BetaRish in advance of the workshop that he's running at the Free Verse fair this Saturday on the all-important question of how to get noticed in the poetry world https://t.co/BQb05rGMx1 https://t.co/zaQQlDpv4w

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test Twitter Media - Who's coming to #FreeVerse18? @TestCentre77 will certainly be there with exciting new works. We're loving the minimalist cover of @lauraYelliott's 'lemon, egg, bread' and look forward to discovering more soon! https://t.co/4AsOcD6NEm https://t.co/FcEtyEdGj7

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test Twitter Media - Do you know your lemon mousse from your velvet sofa cushion?  Enter the Minnis imagery quiz to win a free ticket to see Chelsey Minnis at the Free Verse fair this Sat 22nd Sept plus bag a limited edition print and a copy of her new book!  Deadline Thur 5pm https://t.co/nPApLSzD8d https://t.co/LrXwr5xrYb
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Feast your eyes to these beautiful covers by @Strangers_Press! These are part of their KESHIKI project that showcases eight of the most exciting writers in Japan today. Come to the #FreeVerse18 to grab your copies! strangers.press

test Twitter Media - Feast your eyes to these beautiful covers by @Strangers_Press! These are part of their KESHIKI project that showcases eight of the most exciting writers in Japan today. Come to the #FreeVerse18 to grab your copies! https://t.co/1JmsrELBOd https://t.co/4zANKBUorH

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