He wanted to meet as soon as possible,
Desperately wanted me to collaborate with him to fulfill
A years-overdue commission he had from the State of Israel.
He had in mind some sort of Ban-the-Bomb oratorio

Which would have its premier at the Knesset.
We met in summertime Central Park
In green glorious New York,
But was I interested?

And afterward he kissed me good-bye on the mouth,
Shock to a St. Louis boy,
The maestro bursting with genius and joy
While putting me into a Checker cab.

I was twenty-six,
The perfect age for vast ambition.
We were there to save civilization!
Robert Lowell had told him I might be interested.

The piece, but without me, became eventually
The Kaddish Symphony, but by then
Israel already probably (certainly) had the bomb.

Lowell had told him I was the best.
Once he heard that, Bernstein would never rest.
I liked the sweetness
Of being pursued by the maestro

From, so to speak, Maine to Mexico.
At eighty-five, I miss the sweetness
Of being pursued sans cesse
All over the East Coast, age twenty-six.