Fighting Talk



Close a piano lid and the music inside will die,

keys yellow like tobacco stains on fingers,

strings tighten in their cage. Only milk

will make the ivory shine white again.

My mother taught me this, and how to play;

how to sit with one tune in a beige front room

as dusk is falling and the children call outside;

how to leave the dark wood stool when told,

when note for note is perfect; black, white.


Then Mr Kubilius, who showed me Bach

was silver, red, and stamped his boots;

Debussy turquoise, sea, and crystals

catching light, soft pedalling translucency of air.

My fingers learned to speak for me,

the branches of a lime tree sweeping

over blue draped windows, casting

cooling shadows over amber light.  I played,

while Mr Kubilius closed his eyes, and smiled.



Cathy Grindrod