Posted by: wrmcnutt | January 5, 2010

The Leader of the Band


An only child alone and wild
A cabinet maker’s son
His hands were meant for different work
And his heart was known to none —

He left his home and went his lone
And solitary way
and he gave to me a gift I know
I never can repay

A quiet man of music
Denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once
But his music wouldn’t wait

He earned his love through discipline
A thundering, velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls
Took me years to understand.

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument
And his song is in my soul —

My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band.

My brothers’ lives were different
For they heard another call
One went to Chicago
And the other to St. Paul

And I’m in Colorado
When I’m not in some hotel
Living out this life I’ve chose
And come to know so well.

I thank you for the music
And your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom
When it came my time to go —

I thank you for the kindness
And the times when you got tough
And, Dad, I don’t think I
Said ’I love you’ near enough —

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument
And his song is in my soul —

My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band.

— Dan Fogelburg, “The Leader of the Band”

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Responses

  1. Your dad was proud of you. It was obvious in just a simple visit to see him. And you are a good man – one to be proud of.

    And your dad knew you loved him.


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