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Reconnaissant Pour L'esprit de Corps
Randal A. Burd, Jr.


I still recall those days of marching bands
when bonded by a fierce esprit de corps
we stepped in time and played into the stands;
not holding back, we left them wanting more.
They came to see each small town halftime show
what seems to me a lifetime long ago.
What seems to me a lifetime long ago,
we’d test our skills against the other bands.
Our heads held high with such esprit de corps,
we’d send our melodies into the stands.
No marching band has ever given more
than ours when we performed our polished show.
When we performed our polished marching show
so many times, so many years ago,
we held our own among the many bands
and rode the high of our esprit de corps.
Combined with all the cheering from the stands,
that feeling always left us wanting more.
That feeling always left us wanting more,
returning to us during every show,
but that was such a long, long time ago,
back in those days of school and marching bands
when teamwork brought us great esprit de corps,
rewarding us with cheering from the stands.
But now there’s no more cheering from the stands.
We all moved on in search of something more.
Some hoped we’d have a little more to show
for lives which started all those years ago
when days were filled with school and marching bands
and we were filled with much esprit de corps.
Now others share the same esprit de corps
and march in time and play into the stands.
We never see each other anymore.
Reunions pass, but many never show,
though bound together briefly long ago
by lessons learned in school and marching bands.
Esprit de corps is why in marching bands,
we’d stand up straight, chins up, for every show
and leave them wanting more those years ago. 

This poem first appeared in Halftime Magazine.
Used here with permission.



Randal Burd teaches adult education classes and works with at-risk youth at a residential treatment facility in rural Missouri. He has a Master's Degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri and his work has been published in a variety of publications. A married father of two, Randal enjoys doing genealogy research when he is not indulging in his self-sabotaging compulsion to write poetry that rhymes.Learn more about him at






Post New Comment:
Very well-done sestina. Brings back memories of our marching band. Thank you.
Posted 03/04/2020 09:14 PM
Graceful form, this sestina. Evocative of high school marching band days.
Posted 03/04/2020 02:49 PM
Nice sestina!!
Posted 03/04/2020 10:33 AM
Oh, those stanza transitions!
Posted 03/04/2020 09:13 AM
Was part of the Syracuse U marching band when they played in the Orange Bowl. No fun marching down the streets of Miami in woolen uniforms designed for upstate NY weather! Lots of great memories though.
Posted 03/04/2020 08:53 AM
Gilbert Allen:
I enjoyed reading this well-wrought sestina.
Posted 03/04/2020 08:20 AM

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