(with apologies to Walt Whitman) I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The tubas, the timpani, the sea of clarinets.
The gymnasiums awash with sweaty sixth-graders,
Parents lolling like walruses on the beach.
The toddlers squirming,
The sibling—thumbing his PSP, distracted and intent, the body electric.
The delicious singing of the mothers,
The dutiful clapping of the fathers,
Teachers, glazed and spent--swimming in an ocean of fatigue.
The day what belongs to the day—At night, the party of students, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.
Music in Our Schools Month needs a serious overhaul. First of all, the phrase itself - used to describe a national, month-long festival of in-school performances - generates as much heat as Administrative Professionals Day, Root Canal Awareness Week, and Better Sleep Month combined. It smells like community service. It calls up images of gymnasiums awash with sweaty 6th graders, parents lolling like walruses on a beach. I hereby suggest that music teachers put their heads together and come up with a new title, one that preferably includes the words "righteous," "awesomemest," and "sweet."