Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Piano Angel

“It’s rosewood,” she thought, and planned to use it,
to fashion a table to put beside
the sofa she’d covered with exquisite,
flowered, rose chintz for a countrified
look in the house they were moving into,
on a knoll overlooking pines and sea.

Her three-year old daughter who’d hitherto
shadowed her, saw it too, and touched a key.

She stirred soup one day, as rain poured outside,
heard music play. “Is it the radio?”
she wondered, checking everywhere inside,
hearing her daughter pounding fortissimo
the carol, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.”
She knelt on a wicker chair she had found,
pressing keys that hammered on ancient strings,
wires the piano angel must have tuned.

The little girl asked, “Why can’t it be white,
like a billowy cloud or foaming sea,
or a bright angel in heavenly flight?”

“Rosewood,” her mother groaned, “that’s heresy.”

They sprayed it white, for their child didn’t quit.
They moved the piano into the house,
its pure-sounding notes showing a spirit
divine, from Bach to the Beatles to Strauss.
The piano’s angel never took flight.
The girl called forth angels from the guitar,
the harp, the flute, the cello - took delight
in Christmas music tintinnabular.

Years later when at the house by the sea,

Elizabeth Southwood
(PIANO ANGEL, Page 2, continue stanza)
with her little son who was not quite three,
talking with her mother she thought she heard
a Christmas carol being trilled by a bird,
and the piano playing “...Midnight Clear.”
Her mother smiled, “The angel’s still here.”

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