Dozing through the French Revolution

I shall seize fate by the throat.
—Ludwig van Beethoven

While the gang tipples at Cronin’s
off the Square, paper due, I’m trying
to make sense of the French Revolution,
fighting a cauldron of ennui and sleepiness.

Burke’s Reflections, Doyle and Carlyle
histories succeed as anesthesia, I hear
the three individual quarter notes in G
then E-flat for two beats on 89.7,

some say fate knocking at the door, others
liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Blood cleanses Place de la Concorde,
Republican ideals knock at each Parisian door,

the overtaxed shopkeeper, tinsmith and baker
refuse to watch the nobles eat cake,
fund wars and dance money away,
they rise, take to the Paris boulevards.

Peasants rebel at the pursuit of hare and hart
trampling their crops, workers at the want
of bread, the entire third estate at servitude
and tithes to a Church amassing land beyond need.

I hear the sound of blood on Parisian streets,
record tricolor red, white and blue flags
that wave at gatherings. The fury persists
because the gods are sanguine in my masterwork.

Extra trombones, contrabassoon and piccolo
aid my journey through conflict to victory.
Dissonance, vivace and allegro scream through my work
so no one can sleep, yet I awaken to a blank page.