Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sarah St Vincent Welch #3 Moving the piano

 (Again, this is new, about objects, this time struggling to keep something, I am interested in response about meaning)

Moving the piano

brace, tremble, your weight
is breaking him


I pay him

brace, tremble, your weight
is breaking

don’t want to shift

don’t want to move you

I am weak


what choice? what choice?
leave you?
I practiced and dreamed
counting time with you, singing
nothing but blue skies from now on
grandma’s and great auntie’s piano
Mum calling to me – STOP STRUMMING
STOP! – from her kitchen

my teacher had no faith in me
I walked to her house before school
she decided what not to teach
I waited on her verandah
morning light through blind slats
my hands shook over the keys
quavered in front of Assembly so
the hymn faltered, a mistake and more mistakes
you the heavy witness
as I played the clear phrases back to you
at home

how to learn to continue
nothing but blue skies from now on

alone, a note strikes
piano blanketed in the truck
your note sings back to me

your weight



  1. This is so moving... Sarah (sorry) and I think perfect. You traverse time, loss and memory delicately and scatter light with heavy keys in a really musical way - I found myself singing/humming 'blue skies' more than once. Your piece strikes empathy and across a great range of emotion in a short two arms length, tinkling and also carring a heavy bass. It even strums. It's a wow from me (:

  2. I like the contrasts you put into the poem, between the description and the spoken text, the way one disrupts the other, like syncopation. The piano has such a weighty significance. I recently sold my mother's piano - she'd willed it to me, I couldn't accommodate it, but it went to the home of enthusiasts.

  3. that's sad Anna

    every home should have one
    (at least one)

    so when there's an outage you know where to sit

  4. a clear day on the highway would be good too ...
    we come from the same afternoon

  5. Thank you for your reading and observations. Family heirlooms invested with so many meanings and stories are heartbreaking to give up. For me it is a lot to do with grandparents I never knew and wish I had known. The complexity of it overwhelms me. I couldn't give up the piano. But it is also madness to accept it in practical terms. Big. Very very heavy. I felt more comfortable putting the song line in, 'blue skies', having seen how Kristen de Kline references lyrics in her poems. Thanks for the feedback about the contrasts, and the music especially.