Silent Piano

The ball is under the piano, again,
causing the dog distress.
Out of tune, never played,
it occupies the alcove
next to the fireplace;
a place to collect clutter
and holiday greeting cards.

She never heard it played well,

There were thoughts, plans,
lessons for my sister and me —
we were not musically inclined.
When they moved from Atlanta
she left it to us,
so that my children would
have it to never play.

Never saw her grandson outgrow his dad,

Dad bought her the piano,
but she never learned to play.

or read my words upon a page.

Written for Joseph Harker’s Reveries in response to a prompt dealing with mementoes. It is still a bit rough, needing some more substance, form and connection to other memories. Try his prompts; they will challenge you.

Posted to the Imaginary Garden.

Posted to Poets United.

Posted to dVerse Poets Open Link night.



Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

27 responses to “Silent Piano

  1. Blow the prompt, this is a poem with enormous emotional appeal. It made me feel guilty for hardly ever touching the piano which sits in our sitting room, now that my arthritic hands no longer do as they’re told.

    “…for my sister and ME”

    • Thank you, Viv. I fought with getting this one on paper. I wrestled with the ‘I’ vs ‘me’; thought me sounded better but that ‘I’ was “correct”. Should have stayed with the gut.

  2. My mom is a piano teacher, so her piano was put to full use whan I was growing up. What makes me sad is that my piano remains for the most part untouched.

  3. So touching!
    And my instrument has been idle for quite some years, guilty there.

  4. Sigh… the fate of many pianos, it seems. I was particularly touched by the lines in italic, increasingly pathos-laden and speaking silently of… something, the naming of which might make it too real?

  5. Oh so poignant. The italicized lines are very effective throughout. Beautiful poem.

  6. Very nice imagery! well done.

  7. I could see what was happening with the dog……..

    Wat a lovely write! 🙂

  8. My husband is a pianist, with a degree in piano performance. His piano, from youth sits in our living room mostly untouched…he prefers the feel of his weighted kurtzweil… so it sits in the corner, furniture to place knick knacks on…but growing up, it was loved well, it was all he had.

    Your poem is beautifully written.

  9. there is magic in a piano. even a silent one. the way it sits, full of unplayed music, the way it holds the light, as though it were drinking in the warmth, storing it up inside taut chords, against future music.
    thank you for such lovely thoughts.

  10. The ability to take a simple taken for granted thing like an unplayed piano and to turn it into a bit of realism that resonates with message and feeling is an awesome thing. This was fantastic and the last line a killer…..great work.

  11. this took me back to the front room and my mother the kitchen shouting at me…play the piano Gerry!! such a great poem it captured the absolute essence of the story. Loved it!!

  12. There are a lot of memories in the piano…all sharing the same theme of silence. Very nice…and the breaks in the line are effective.

  13. smiles grew up in a house where all the ladies played piano…and we would hear them play as we played…it sits silent now in my parents house holding many a memory…thanks for kindling them

  14. that’s sad, at least she had a dog


  15. As I like to say upon encountering a write such as this; “BAM!”
    You nailed it Mark! The melancholy, the sadness, the pain; all come through in a beautiful way. An extremely good piece of writing, in my humble opinion.

  16. Shawna

    Oh my gosh, how sad! What a great ending: “or read my words upon a page”

    This cracked me up: “so that my children would have it to never play”

  17. ” have it to never play”.

    The most poignant line in the poem, I think – full of memories and missed opportunities…

  18. You’ve captured those moments tha could’ve been so well. The absence is felt by what you do not say nor have to since the things speak volumes.

  19. Mark, You set the scene perfectly with the first stanza and then as I felt comfortable in a familiar space, you interjected the tone with “She never heard it played well” Superb progression and crafting. Much enjoyed.

  20. This is quite moody and reflective. A silenced piano is a powerful image. I enjoyed the compactness and discipline in this–yet you manage to convey great emotional content. Nice work

  21. That sounds a bit like my story.
    Well done.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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