This poem was published in The Poetry Review, winter issue, 2017.

The Maestro

by Hisham Bustani

translated by Thoraya El-Rayyes

The musicians finished playing the symphony. They stood up and bowed before the eagerly clapping audience, then started collecting their instruments. Only the conductor was still troubled. Still agitated. Still tapping his baton against his hand nervously.

I am not yet finished, he said to himself.

I am not yet finished, and little by little batches of people withdrew from the auditorium – their chattering voices getting louder.

I am not yet finished, and clanging instruments returned to their cases disturbing the background.

I am not yet finished, and the piano player smiled at the cymbalist – they were about to go on a date.

I am not yet finished, and he looked at the pages before him – the music still falling from them.

Alone, he stayed behind after they all left and when he lifted his baton he heard the opera house walls collapse – its paintings, mouldings, balconies. He heard high, sweeping waves breaking over the chairs spread out before him.

He waved his baton and sent storms spinning.

Tilted it right so that lightning flashed and thunder struck.

Tilted it left so that rain hammered down.

When the Maestro stretched out his baton over the middle, the music divided to open a path for him and so he walked. And when he reached the other bank, the music closed behind him.

He pointed at the middle again, and returned.

Returned to his podium, collected his papers and exited through the backdoor mumbling:

I am not yet finished.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

More about the Poetry Society…

Tweets @PoetrySociety

"Poetry is for all of us, because poetry helps us see ourselves as human. [Poems] are mirrors that help me see my flesh is actually flesh and not imagined." Or how #ForwardPrizes give more people more reasons 2 read [email protected]_Smif @NBCDFW @litsouthbank ow.ly/qSmo30lVuPf Retweeted by The Poetry Society

"Poems at their best allow people to dream and feel. We are tasked with saying the things that people didn’t know they could say out loud." V fine q&a with #ForwardPrizes winner @Danez_Smif by @TATFS of @TelegraphBooks ow.ly/Hd1G30lVLfB Retweeted by The Poetry Society

And so it begins - a UK first as US poet Chelsey Minnis reads at Senate House, rounding off #freeverse18 🎉

test Twitter Media - And so it begins - a UK first as US poet Chelsey Minnis reads at Senate House, rounding off #freeverse18 🎉 https://t.co/xFZ54EXWzS

"A collection that deserves to be thought of as poetry's punk moment" theguardian.com/books/2013/jul… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

@PoetrySociety We'd love if you could spread the word about our Landmark Project: a brand new lion on Trafalgar Square roars poetry written by artificial intelligence - and any one can submit a word! twitter.com/L_D_F/status/1… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

'Without Walls' anthology published to raise funds for homelessness charities launches on 14 October @ColchesterArts Poems from @mosaicpoetry @poetrywivenhoe @CanningDavid @lukewrightpoet Martin Newell, Kit Wright, Mike Harwood. @PoetrySociety twitter.com/CanningDavid/s… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

#ignitionpress poet @LilyBlacksell reading at #FreeVerse18! Her pamphlet, available here, is 'There's No Such Thing'. Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Poets are ‘opening the window and looking out at the world’ as readership increases. #ForwardPrizes @FT @Danez_Smif @BookmarkContent @Bidisha_online @PoetryDayUK ow.ly/A6j730lVv5z Retweeted by The Poetry Society