Neither was musical, so why did they pay
for all those weekly, costly, piano lessons?
I wasn’t interested – nor were my sisters.
The teacher knew at once we had no gift.
My father’s hearing had been blown away
by Navy gunfire. My mother didn’t listen
to concerts on the battered old transistor
while she did the ironing. They had to be spendthrift –
money was tight. But, looking back, I wonder
if part of what they wanted was for us to learn
that other language, not just the words they knew
couldn’t even catch the plainsong they’d discovered
in the regulated life we’d later spurn –
deaf to what war, and death, taught them to value.
If you have any
thoughts on this poem, Tom
be pleased to hear them.