I spent the day thinking about where to go from my newly polished climax of “Milky Way” to get to the last two stanzas of the poem.
Last year, when I was finally deciding how to tackle this piece (I had put it off for twenty years), I decided that it would be in a modified sonata allegro form. For one thing, the A theme (the setting of the first stanza) and the B theme (second stanza) would have to be reversed in the capitulation, since the last two stanzas are mirror images of the first two.
So the puzzle I have (it’s not a hard one) is now that I’ve given the listener a really traditional recap, with the triumphant restatement of the opening chords, I have to twist sideways and lead into the B theme, only in a minor key (because of the rat’s grotesque cynicism) and then back out into the A theme for the final statement.
And there will be another puzzle: Ms. Willard has ended the poem not on a transcendant note but a blunt “handful of dirt to the rat.”
Anyway, I was going to get a lot of this worked out tonight, but I got dragged out to dinner with friends. Oh well.