i can’t listen to Andrew Lloyd Weber
without remembering her passion
for that dark music she played
over & over on vinyl
until like those ripples on the soundtrack
the needle smoothed over, a stone
skipped across dark water
in sound grooved to permanence
in that portion of mind
that lays down sound memory
aligned with faces in chemical threads

if she had lived past 30
perhaps some other music
would float her face into vision
but I am left with this–

conversations with my sister
at the kitchen table, making dinner
or potting plants, our voices punctuated
by a madman’s  love song


***For Dverse, where we are toying with memories and missing.

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?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to phantoms

  1. brian miller says:

    wow great feel of rememberance in this one…love hte use of the music…always carries memories for me…all the more though since you used the record…fav part though..a stone
    skipped across dark water
    in sound grooved to permanence…very cool line…

  2. Mary says:

    Susan, so true that sometimes music takes us back to those times when we were listening to it in the past. I know it does me, and sometimes I have tears of joy as I listen and sometimes tears of sadness. And yes, Andrew Lloyd Weber music REALLY gets into me too.

    • Mary, thank you. My sister loved “Phantom of the Opera” so much I cannot hear one piece from that musical without thinking of her. She made it so very much hers.

  3. Nicely written, gives a real sense of missing experiences together.

  4. Laurie Kolp says:

    This really touches my heart, Susan. I can see the memories are still vivid, and that’s a gift.

  5. claudia says:

    oh susan, such a moving write…so sorry that you lost her so early and how special this music is for you now… music has the power to take us without a detour right into the heart of a specific time or emotion

    • Claudia–thank you, and I do agree–sound memory is for me perhaps as equally intense as scent memory–both so much deeper than visual memories–if that makes any sense.

  6. claudia says:

    wanted to write…i can imagine how special this music is for you…

  7. shanyns says:

    Susan – the power of music! There are songs I still can’t listen to without missing someone, sometimes in tears. Andrew Lloyd Webber is powerful music, to couple it with a memory of such loss is operatic in emotion. You words are so well crafted. My heart aches for you.

  8. Yes mine was Roberta Flack, Killing me softly with his song’ for a love unspoken except with eyes. Long forgotten by them and 40 years ago but the song still brings back their face

  9. poemsofhateandhope says:

    So powerful. So important. And music is a great conduit to go back to those places we miss so badly. And this is pure poetry, honest and emotional. Fantastic….this is why we write…

  10. Trent Lewin says:

    I remember earlier poems about your sister. I get spooked by memories of music from the past. Seems mad to think that someone didn’t get a chance to imprint other songs with you, especially a family member.

  11. A song, or, just a few bars of music can transport us right back in time to when and where it first became embedded in our minds. I’m sure every time you hear Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music your sister is right ‘there’
    So sad to lose her at such a young age. I loved the imagery of the old vinyl records and the ‘needle’ (stylus) too.
    Very poignant, but very lovely poem Susan.

  12. Miriam E. says:

    how very touching, Susan. deep, sad, somewhat dark… and very lovely. great work.

  13. I adore his music, its powerful and speaks to me as well ~

    Lovely memories of your dear sister, how those times go quickly ~ Thanks for the share ~

  14. These lines blew my mind way…

    the needle smoothed over, a stone
    skipped across dark water
    in sound grooved to permanence
    in that portion of mind

    wow!!! Your poetry has a refreshing and eloquent read to it. I am very pleased to be part of your readers. 🙂 You make the world a better place. 🙂

  15. So lovely. It’s that thing of music forever taking us back to the person who loved it like a time machine.

  16. mobius faith says:

    Nice poem. I just can’t listen to Andrew Lloyd Webber – period. Hahaha. 🙂

    • My sister, bless her, had atrocious taste in music. She moved from playing Barry Manilow at full volume over and over to Phantom. Of the two–ALW is marginally better, I think, if you have to listen to something over and over. Was kind of like waterboarding, but for the ears.

  17. ruleofstupid says:

    The dichotomy of loss is that our memories both hurt and help, because they keep them alive. Beautiful words Susan – fitting tribute. Hugs from me.

  18. kaykuala says:

    Sometimes one’s love for one thing or the other can be an obsession difficult to explain. But it’s good as one can reflect back and realized how much it fulfilled a need. This is relevant in many instances, Susan! Nicely!


  19. Moving poem, music is so powerful, the only real time machine in someways.

  20. Awful sadness expressed so clearly through the music, the skipping vinyl (lovely metaphor there), the shared kitchen and the madman … so sad Susan … good capture.

  21. Lázaro Rojas says:

    Great storytelling. Nice thread all around. Nice images and feeling of remembrace.

  22. J Cosmo Newbery says:

    Powerful stuff. Music is a true time machine.

  23. The reminisces are beautifully expressed. Feels good to be back here. Keep writing such beautiful poems, Susan! 🙂

  24. wolfsrosebud says:

    i do like how this ended

  25. nelle says:

    Okay, this shivered my body a bit. *hugs*

  26. How you must love her! How so much you must be missing her. Great poem conveying an even greater emotion – the permanence of love!

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