the soundpost

It isn't just
to kill the pine
to wrest from it
some feeble whine
It isn't just
a violin
the space inside
lets music in
when all was closed
where silence ruled

No varnished flames
or cunning scroll
can keep the bridge
or purfling whole
make strings pull taut
or ribs curve true
No eye can see
the air flow through
but music knows
It can't be fooled

Scrawl paragraphs
that never tell
Take photographs
that ring no bell
Or strike four strings
from right to left,
caress the neck
peer through the clef
and listen well
All down its length
the face can't show

the soundpost holds
an open throat
a wordless cry
The perfect note
awaits the hand
who finds the strength
to draw the bow.


YAAAAA ha ha ha yay whee! *dances*
Finally I got that poem I promised Cheri all that time ago! And it's GOOD, fo' sho', right up there with my favorite good ones. And here I thought I was getting all rusty! I'm still not sure whether to use punctuation. Right now I'm just using capital letters to indicate beginnings of sentences, and I'm not 100% certain of all of those. There's one or two word choices I'm iffy about yet, especially in the first few lines of the third stanza, and I'm sad I had to mention pine without mentioning maple, since violins are made from both types of wood. But I'm nitpicking, not really complaining. It's that good that I have to worry over all my choices to make sure everything is just as it should be!

Lemme write down the story of this poem for my remembrance and in case I hadn't told all three of y'all that have my blog url.

One time me and Dave were over at Pete & Cheri's and Cheri told us this story. She isn't exactly a home health aide but something similar. She helps people move around and go to the store or go out for a walk in the park, because their health is bad enough that they can't do those things on their own anymore. One of her clients is a really old guy who's been a musician all his life, a violinist. In his later years, though, he stopped really playing violin music, though he was very good, and became obsessed with the construction of a violin. He is convinced that if he can get every little piece of everything inside a violin tuned and fitted together exactly right, he can make a violin that can play a perfect note, every time. His family thinks he is kind of nuts and worries about him. Once Cheri took him to the music store and he stood there looking through soundposts, something she hadn't even known was part of a violin, for an incredibly long time as he agonized over which ones to try next. Cheri was getting bored, so she asked the store owner how much they cost. It was a really small amount, like twenty-five or fifty cents each, and she just said "We'll take all of them." The old man was ecstatic. Cheri had the biggest grin on her face as she described him coming home from the store with the bag of soundposts clutched in his hand like a sack of pirate gold.

But after he finished experimenting with his best violin and all those soundposts, one time he had her sit down and listen. He played only one note, but she said it moved through her head, down her neck, and vibrated in the center of her chest with an ache like her heart was breaking. Just like the way it hurts when a song comes to you and wants to be brought into the world. And she understood, finally, why he was on this quest and why it wasn't all that crazy. And I promised her I'd do my best to write this poem so she could give it to him. Someone who put in the work to complete a quest like that, to make a sound so perfect it can open the gates of song in anybody's heart, deserves a poem this good and better to honor them!