I have answered this already -- when you posted two different times before.
Google the title and author's name to find more information.
The italicized words are SOUNDS. The poem is meant to be HEARD, not just read silently.
Dear Witchita - Writeacher is right. This poem is meant to be heard because it is Onomatopoeia (pronounced on-oh-ma-toe-pea-uh).
Onomatapoeia, in the most basic form, is the use of words that imitate sound to form a poem.
The sound words are meant to enhance your visual picture of this man and help you hear and see exactly what the author was thinking when he wrote the poem. Without the sounds, it reads:
"He's in the uniform
Of an army band
complete with medals, coronet
agaisnt one side of his lips
and the other stuck with
a whistle on top of
a helmet. a cymbal, a drum
at his knee and a flag
he stands at attention
and plays the irrational anthem"
Can't you just see this guy now? All nice in his Marines dress-uniform - the one with the navy-blue jacket and white hat.He's got a coronet - that's a small bugle type trumpet - at one side of his mouth. there's a whistle stuck in the other side. He's wearing a drum around his neck that hangs down by his knee because the strap is so long and the drum is heavy. There's a cymbal there too. He's got a flag attached to a pack on his back. His hand is at his forehead in salute becasue that's what it means to stand at attention. The melody he's trying to play is the Irrational Anthem, which isn't really a song, just the author's humorous way of sayign the guy can't carry a tune when he's playing the star spangled banner.
all those sounds that Wagoner through in there, those are just to help show you that this guy may look good in uniform, but he needs a little more practice with his music lesson