The Drum Major
You gaze at the assembled band. In solitary splendour, there you stand.
The sword hangs heavy on your thigh, the dress chords, tassels, sashes lie
In great profusion on your chest, the gauntlets glow white, softly rest
Upon the Mace, all burnished bright, encrusted chain, reflecting light.
They wait; anticipate command, the Pipes and Drums and Military Band.
And in the rear, parading there, the Companies set to prepare
To march to their allotted place, rehearsed, and ready then to face
The approbation of the crowd, The Mums and Dads and Girlfriends proud.
You turn about, become aware you're all alone, there's no-one there,
No serried ranks in front to guide your marching feet, or at the side
No markers there within your sight, you're in the lead, just get it right !
So take a deep breath, (silent prayer,) it's time to march on to the Square.
"Quick March!" You step out. Watch the pace, no need to dawdle or to race,
Don't make them step short, or outpace them, keep to a good firm steady rhythm.
The Bass Drum Beat, the Snare Drum roll, the soaring Pipes invade your soul,
The measured swing of six-eight beat, transferring tempo to your feet.
You grip the Mace; flourish with style, but carefully listening all the while,
Prepared to signal change of tune, as previously planned, in the Band Room.
And, constantly watching the line, to execute the turn on time,
Then, wheeling left, take up your place, facing the saluting dais.
You hold the Mace aloft, a sign to end the march, then realign
Yourself by turning right-about, to face the band, hearing the shouts
Of NCO's, as they take post. Then all is still, as the great host
Of soldiers now upon the Square, come to attention, waiting there.
That's how it goes; it's just the start of all parades, when you take part,
Behind the swank and glamour there, you're centre stage, so have a care
To get it right for all to see, and try to avoid the calamity,
The horrendous, ultimate disgrace, which happens if you drop the Mace !