Piano

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

— “Piano” by D.H. Lawrence, 1885-1930

I was looking for something beautiful and complex to think about. Memories of past music will do. This poem makes me think of Sunday evening church services in my childhood. The varnished wood ceiling slanting up to a peak. The dimmed lights as the sermon begins. The worn wooden benches. Blue hymnals and Bibles in the shelf in front of me, green hymnals beneath the seats. The backlit cross behind the pulpit. A hushed and holy atmosphere, unlike any atmosphere I’ve known since.

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