V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




Her fingers high in the keys,
Your granddaughter smiles
And sometimes frowns
From the piano, already better
Than I ever was—classical
Or jazz, following me.

I remember the fun
At first and then the craft
So hard to learn with baseball.
For a while I'd have the notes
Marching in a row as good as
The metronome would want them
But not for long.

I made a sad, bitter game
Of practice and hurt you
With bad recitals—and think
Of all that money lost
To have a near-pro teach me.
It's what father thought.

Near the end, you said
Boredom was a way of life
That had to be endured
Before falling into something
That would turn out good.
It was a lesson I didn't learn
Until I'd given up the piano.
She's trying hard I promise you.
Today it’s a Viennese waltz
Filled with sunshine and flowers
Then, Tatum’s version of
“Willow Weep for Me”
With the harder runs shortened
To give his pain a simpler form
She can’t quite master, yet.

That's why I'm sitting here
Tapping a pencil to the beat
Remembering you in the kitchen
Trying your best to help me
By calling out correct notes
While father shuffled his papers
At each false play.


© by William Ford


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