The Price of a Prize

The orchestra

Vicariously playing as the audience

Silence falls

Disciplined and polite

As two conductors stage the sham

Cannons

Ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum

Heart of a macabre score

Rifle-like snare drums

The thrilling promise of a grand performance

A choir

Singing pain and victory

Harmonic cries with soaring notes

Every fallen soldier a descant to the piece

Struck down as the strings begin

Shells

Or violins, captivating

And the brass leaps to each ear

Sending shivers through the feet of men

Reaching in to shake the soul

Impossible

That music can exist in madness

Carnage so abhorrent, unearthly

To the point of beauty

As it mocks sanity

The crescendo

Breathtaking in its execution

Surreal enough to weep for

Sweeping aside every feeling

To usher in nothing

Silence again

Abrupt and vulgar

Souring the piece at the very end

Dissatisfaction the only prize

Both conductors bow in shame