Verse and Voice
12:46 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

The Cause

When you jump off a bandwagon, it rolls on
toward the cities’ high places,
and you’re left without music on an empty road,

nothing to guide you. Not even the moon
drenches each milepost. No joyous faces
when you jump off a bandwagon. It rolls on,

its pipers shrill, its drummers too loud,
yet you listen: thick notes, then thin traces
and you’re left without music on an empty road.

Just you versus you—your pro, your con,
your rabbits in hats, your sleeves, your aces
when you jump off. A bandwagon? It rolls on.

Mobs crowd beneath church bells. Fireworks explode.
But you’re not recalled. Clamor throbs in tight spaces
and you’re left without music on an empty road.

There’s not one startled whistle, not one flung baton,
no At last, we’ve done it!, no full scale embraces
when you jump off a bandwagon. It rolls on
and you’re left without music on an empty road.

Dick Allen is Connecticut's State Poet Laureate.

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