into song – thoughtless as reciting a prayer –
reward our feet with a waltz or two,
congratulate ourselves with an aria
then tap dance our way through
the kitchen and dining room?
And suppose the musicians arrive early
each morning to tune up their strings
and oil their drums
while the white-gloved conductor waits
with his cue sheet at the breakfast table?
Would we expect a chorus prophesying disaster
or a fugue in D-minor? Why not ask
or a diminuendo through dinner?
And what might our friends and spouse say
about all that sheet music stuffed in our pockets,
about our lives cluttered with voice lessons,
rehearsals and women dressed in high heels
and fishnet stockings?
Imagine the fun of it all, the spotlight
on us all as we dance and sing
throughout our lives with our pets joining in
with happy tails, and birds whistling
from their cages, encouraging applause
for our pitch-perfect singing each day.
“Hum If You Can't Sing” was originally published in Prairie Light Review, 1992.