When the trees are adorned with gold and orange

And the mornings dawn cold and clear,

When the honking geese form V's in the sky

I joyfully realize that autumn is here.

And then something small stirs in my heart,

I feel it when summer is done;

When at last it's autumn, I close my eyes,

And I hear the sound of the drums.

For fall is the marching band season,

A time for woodwinds and brass to reign,

For drummers to harness the elusive beat,

For the guard to bring out the flags again.

I can still feel the rhythm beating inside me.

I can see two hundred feet marching as one.

The relentless pulsation is engraved in my memory;

I will always remember the sound of the drums.

Fondly I recall my precious clarinet,

I can feel its weight in my hand,

From tooth marked mouthpiece to sand scratched bell,

Its polished body as silky as fine sand.

Its silver keys would sparkle like diamonds

In the stadium lights or weak October sun,

Its clear, golden tones kept perfect time

To the inescapable sound of the drums.

My friends and I – we lived for band

We lived for each other and our show,

We giggled and gossiped and griped together

We marched in heat and rain and snow.

We pulled all kinds of crazy stunts

Tried anything that sounded fun;

But our spines were straight and our heads erect

When we marched to the sound of the drums

I can smell the slightly burnt cheese sandwiches

And my well-loved uniform in its torn blue bag

I can see the cheering parents decked out in blue

And the color guard's vivid, spinning flags.

I can hear the simultaneous cheering and crying

After our final show was done;

But amongst all these beloved memoirs

I mostly recall the sound of the drums.

These memories will fade away in time,

I will forget notes and steps and names,

But no matter how old and wrinkled I become,

One thing shall forever be the same;

When the flocks of geese begin their trek southward

And the first biting autumn wind comes,

I will point my face westward and smile,

And listen to the sound of the drums.