The Lieutenant

She had not seen his black face since they played with toys as kids
     Then marched around the school ground –
          White striped pants, with flags and booming drum.
               But as his childhood pictures flicked to screen it all came back.

Soon pictures took a different path (she'd moved away by then)
     They watched and laughed at stories – felt some pain
          They heard of struggle, triumphs, joys
               Of navy trips, and travelled distant lands.

And soon a room of strangers – pointed out, acknowledged,
     Each for some key part, sprang forth to life for her.
          And as she heard short thanks, saw tears
               With gifts and warm embrace –
                    The highlights of a life-time tapestry
                         Became a film-scape there to her
                              Like products of her hours of making films.

She knew film’s sound was cut away – rebuilt on separate tracks
     With ‘ambient sound’ reduced to background ‘air’.
         Then bell is added, footsteps, shower, owl-hoot,
              A rocket’s roar – alongside dialogue –
                   Re-taped, lip-synched to crystal clear.

Then comes the fun as multi-tracks are synched and tweaked
     To build a sound-scaped world
          Much stronger than the real –
               As symbols rise to hook our hearts
                    And layers of meaning put new depths
                         To what apparent is.

A bell made distant to the steps that creep in sinister silence;
     The shower’s flow and rocket’s roar moved up
          To match the ‘heard before the seen’
               Of real life;
                    The atmospheric owl-hoot deftly stroked unheard but strongly felt;
                         The music’s theme soft matched then swelled
                              To climax at the end.

Repeated times this rough cut’s played to tweak
     And smooth – till all agree
          And final mix-down’s ordered for release.

So now retirement’s quick review
     In two short hours – she heard the settings
          That he chose for each track of his life –
               His love of kids, his care and craft,
                    Strong family ties,
                         And quick response as challenges arose –

Each separate track laid down and tweaked
     In circumstantial days
          When now played back – showed life's impact,
               The shortfalls of his life now cut away.