Music Lessons

I.  Piano

My parents paid for lessons
for both girls
on the baby grand;
my sister was the artist
who caressed the keys

& the piano
played for her
as if in a fever dream,
notes dancing
beneath her fingertips,
almost before she pressed them;
rippling and purring
pure music.

I was not so

That gorgeous piano
demanded that I count
& play
at the same time;
a lesson
of 1-and, 2-and, 3-and

by my teacher
beneath faltering, wrong notes
on the same instrument
that carolled
30 minutes before.

The metronome
was my enemy.

We all could hear the difference.

Still, my mother
insisted I practice;
because this was a gift
I was offered,
the pleasure of learning
to play a piano;

no joy
for any of us
when I was dragged,
kicking my legs
& screeching
to practice.

So, eventually
they gave up
& let the piano dance
for my sister
& stay mercifully silent
for me.

2.  Voice

That perfect pitch
& time
I could not teach my fingers
to follow
on the piano

found a home here
where it could wake
in my throat;

& show me scales
behind my eyelids

all I had to do
was open my throat
& let go

all day resonating
like a struck tuning fork
I could tell you
the escalator hummed
in B-flat
& our doorbell
called out in G

now, this music
I was made for;
my voice the only instrument
I needed


About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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17 Responses to Music Lessons

  1. Gail says:

    I like this Susan – and I am glad I found your blog. I am enjoying your poetry a lot.

  2. jeglatter says:

    Gorgeous–Smiling big.:)

  3. Ah – we are exact opposites! I learned piano (at times almost against my will, as I cannot identify how I learned to play with the minimal amounts of practicing I did!) but have never been able to sing. How I envy those who can do both! As a piano teacher with several sets of siblings, though, I can confirm – it is usually only one sibling per family that gets the piano gene! 🙂

  4. Great poem.
    There is a diversity of talents and all are bestowed by the Him on high!
    Btw,If you sing as good as your poetry what superb melodies must enrich the world each time you open your throat and let go; if you voice of your heart hums as sweet as your poems, what delicate talented fingers within it must be slide-glide dancing Fred Astaire on its gentle keyboard!

    • Oh, my, my silver-tongued friend–you have left me speechless (and that’s a difficult thing to do 🙂 )

      I used to sing well, and loved it. Now, I save it for Sundays, and try to sing in my poetry instead (and please let me know if it is ever off key)

    • Thank you 🙂

      when I was a teenager, and wrote horrible poetry, I used to hum while I wrote–putting the words to internal music. Hmmmm–might be a new song in that thought.

  5. Ian Moone says:

    Good poem touching

  6. It swooped me away! Thanks Susan ~Sincerely your friend Deborah

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