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Writings and Witterings

First Love

70 Comments

piano

The piano is in need of tuning
so it can be played in key
music is my first love
rock opera symphony

I love music sheets tucked inside the seat
of piano stool beneath
music soft music loud music beautiful
uplifting and complete

Dissonance: off key
jangles discord—clang clang
the music chaotic bitter sharp
air disturbed—bang bang

Black keys and white keys
wait proud and still
for the piano tuner’s lever
(here he comes up the hill)

He plays sotto voce
presto forte staccato allegro
adagio tosto tutti vivace
tenerezza eco o o o o oh

A tonic in tune once more
affettuoso read the score
pianissimo dolcissimo
come play me piano implores

Published in Girl’s Got Rhythm by Black Pear Press 2012 and reprinted 2016. Reposted for Poetics – Under the Influence of Music, a prompt from Anthony Desmond, 2014, at dversepoets.

Sotto voce: in an undertone
Presto: very fast
Forte: loud; strong
Staccato: brief; detached
Allegro: fast
Adagio: slowly
Tosto: swift; rapid
Tutti:
all; everyone
Vivace: lively
Tenerezza: tenderly
Eco: echo; an effect in which a group of notes is repeated

70 thoughts on “First Love

  1. I tried to learn how to play a guitar.
    Sadly, I failed miserably. From that day onwards I’ve a new found respect for guitarists, pianists and anyone who can play an instrument.
    I loved the poem !

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  2. Hello
    It is a pleasure for me to nominate you for The Versatile Blogger Award. Please go to my post of May 7 for more information, and also visit http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/vba-rules/
    I look forward to reading more on your blog.
    Alex

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I believe you have just captured the words of my poor neglected Baby Grand sitting lonely in my living room…

    Lovely piece. I could almost hear that piano tuner at work. 🙂

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  4. Ah the memories, Polly. I used to dream of owning a white baby grand. LOL
    Played lots of Beethoven in my younger days. You said it … first love 😉

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  5. Bravo! I love your fortissimo ! Thank you Polly~ Sincerely Deborah

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  6. Wow! Polly – if this is not a poem written to be PERFORMED then I don’t know what is. I have read it aloud to the cat three times, with relevant emphasis, elongation of certain words, volume and tone (I hope) and she was rapt! Bangles is a very reliable arbiter of poetry. 😉

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    • Hmmm … is my pronunciation up to it? Our house would be like Much Practising in the Marsh for days before a performance!

      J’aime que les thought of you reading it to Bangles cat [who now moves marginally into my better books for being a good arbiter] and for reading it not once but THREE times!

      Thanks for the comments Holly 🙂

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      • I am sure your pronunciation is more that up to it! 🙂

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        • OK, I’ve made the audio … will look forward to seeing what you think of it …

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        • Blimey! Even the cat looked up at the “presto forte…” line! Seriously – well done. I love the lifts and falls of the piece and you read it very much as I’d imagined. Fab.

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          • Ah-ha! Good news! I did wonder about Bangles [or as I think of him/her Bojangles] – hoped for approval from my main arbiter 🙂 That was my biggest voice, but then it was for forte!
            Thanks for coming back to it and commenting 🙂

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        • It’s a poem that merits revisiting. One that sticks in the mind and more so with your reading of it.
          I’ve noticed at spoken word events there are some poets who read and some who perform… and both approaches work for different things. This though is most definitely one you’ve PERFORMED and I love it. I think it’s actually one of my favourites of yours.
          My piano teacher was a dusty old man though…

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          • I love the description of your piano teacher as a dusty old man, Holly 🙂 Thanks for coming back to add a bit more on your thoughts x

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  7. Polly, I’m a pianist and singer, so this one got me, right on the heartstrings, which I do try to keep in tune…! Loved the rhyme scheme and all the classical references. You really know your field! I’m a self-taught jazz player, and truly appreciate those who know the terminology and who flat-out love the piano! Thanks so much. Peace, Amy

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  8. Ah, Amy, I once was both … but a long time ago now! I took piano lessons in my salad days and loved it, still have an (untuned, as above) piano today but play it rarely and not well. I found the terminology intriguing and roll-around-the-mouthable as a child, it is so evocative and memorable one never forgets it once learned.

    I still sing but no longer in a choir – I won awards for singing in my school days, though you’d never believe it if you heard me now! I’ve been known to embarrass my other half by going for it at parties with karaoke (!) He always says ‘that was lovely’ with a slight flush to his cheeks 🙂

    Thank you for your reply, so pleased you enjoyed the poem.

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  9. Being able to play the piano or any other musical instrument is a gift that should be cherished. You are very lucky to have that gift for music, Polly. Keep on playing. How I wish I could… 😉

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  10. Didn’t have time to comment when I first read this, Polly, but I really enjoyed it. As in one of the comments above, it made me want to read it aloud – especially the discordant verse! Great use of sounds.
    And I’d LOVE to be able to play the piano.

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    • Thank you Lindsay – as you’ll have seen, I don’t play so much these days but still love it – glad you liked the discordant verse, that pleases me immensely 🙂

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  11. brings back a lot of memories to me of growing up…my mom played….my sister played…so most afternoons I would listen to them practice…and the old man that used to tune our piano was blind…was so cool watching him rely on his other senses….

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    • Cheers Brian–how wonderful is poetry? Always a surprise to bring back memories of others. Thanks for commenting–I’ve heard of blind piano tuners though I’ve never personally known one.

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  12. I do miss having a piano – abandoned it once I left my parents’ home and have never had the space to be reunited with it since.
    How the melodious Italian words fit with the musical descriptions!

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    • I was the same until I was bought one as a Christmas gift–what a joy to rediscover it–one day I’ll take lessons again as I fear my playing’s quite rusty now.
      Italian is a wonderful language, such a musical language–thanks for your comments, Marina 🙂

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  13. My mother played the piano, but we moved so often in my youth, the pianos did not follow. Some of us are not singers, nor musicians–but we are poets, appreciators, audiences, participators–your response is apt, bang on, tackling the prompt like a football guard; really enjoyed it.

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    • Funny how we all seem to miss the piano when we’ve had one at home.
      Glad you enjoyed ‘First Love’, Glenn, I like that you think the prompt was tackled ‘like a football guard’–cool 🙂

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  14. Groovy piece. Love the third stanza.

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  15. I do love listening to a great piano player; I, myself, prefer to play string instruments (guitar & ukulele)… this piece certainly carried out the richness of a fine-tuned piano…. smiles

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    • Thanks Anthony–I’ve always meant to take up guitar, had an acoustic one once but my mother couldn’t bear it so it had to go. Smashing prompt, thank you.

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  16. OH! i love the piano.. and your words are tempting me to lift the cover.. and once again.. immerse my fingers.. with ivory.. and now plastic keys…in electronic way.. of amplifying play!

    Ah.. but all the lessons.. trapped me.. until one day.. i set them free…

    and finAlly separated from sheet music..

    piano and me.. TOGETHER!

    finAlly made love in FREE!

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  17. this made me wanna get up and on my piano and play… i haven’t for quite a bit…

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  18. I have not played in a long time but the time the tuner came.. that blind man who was better than anyone else to hear… that I remember.. Love how you weaved in the musical terms.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. … and mine is REALLY in need of tuning after 25 years.

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  20. A lovely voice of the piano ~ My daughter plays the piano so I can empathize with the black and keys wanting to be tuned up to play ~ Enjoyed this one Polly ~

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    • Thanks Grace – how wonderful that your daughter plays – hope she keeps it up, unlike some of the commentators on this post 🙂

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  21. There’s nothing more inspiring and motivating than having one’s piano tuned and feeling it sounds so right, you want to play all day.

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  22. I do not know whether you got my first comment. I greatly admire those who can play an instrument. Wondering whether you have played much since the tuner’s visit.

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    • Hi Gabriella, I can’t see a previous comment from you, so thanks for leaving this one. Music’s a wonderful thing, a thing of beauty 🙂 I don’t play too much at the mo, but want to get back into it once I’ve moved house and settled. I dare say the piano will need tuning again when that happens! 🙂

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  23. I took piano lessons as a kid and sort of enjoyed it but not enough to continue it as an adult. Your poem almost inspired me to rethink that……smiles.

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  24. Piano words are themselves musical, and the poor piano tuner-/ they seem endlessly in pain to me. A lot of fun here, Polly. K.

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  25. You brought back the visual for me of sheet music under the piano seat. Wow, I had forgotten….and I cannot forget the metronome keeping time as I practiced. It’s been a long time…..thanks for bringing back the memories!

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    • Eeek…the metronome! It used to scare me when my music teacher got that out, yet she told me I was one of her ‘better pupils’ – praise indeed from a dour Scot. I’d forgotten that until reading your comment – thanks – you made me smile 🙂

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  26. beautifully woven, Polly~

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  27. Well played Polly – bellissimo, but I have to confess that I expected to hear you tickling the ivories during your otherwise very authentic reading.

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    • Thanks Mike, for both reading and listening to ‘First Love’ – it didn’t occur to me to tickle the ivories (!) I’m not sure that I’m that good – but thanks for the thought and I’ll consider it 🙂

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  28. Just lovely this one Polly…very clever! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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