The Arena has become an aviary.
As we walk along the narrow corridor
into the auditorium, the sound
of eight and half thousand young voices
all chattering simultaneously
with wonder overwhelms us like a blast
of tropical heat, like a wall of bird song.
The music starts, the house lights go down.
In unison, as they begin to sing
‘Ode to Joy’, each one of the thousands
of song birds switches on a white, bright beam,
which shimmers and waves, glides and twinkles.
When the floods and spots permit we can see her,
with the plastic binoculars bought
from a vendor, clearly, among her classmates,
on the far side of the Arena.
Even through lenses she seems a long way off
in all that air – which once more goes black.
The myriad of small beams glows, flickers.