Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15: Rachel's violin

When I hear you play
I remember hours of practice.
When you were six, we couldn’t get you to eat.
You wrote crayon stories about the violin,
I think you slept with the violin.
Other parents would ask:
“How can you stand the missed notes;
they screech through the house?”  But you
had perfect pitch. Your fingers knew what to do.

When you were eight, somehow we arranged
for you to play Bloch’s Nigun at an Anne Frank exhibit.
You were introduced with an apology to the audience of 200
who chatted and smiled to see a small child, 
alone, unaccompanied. 
They were shocked to silence when you played.
Only music drove you.

As a teenager, you confided,
“Any boyfriend will have to understand music comes first.”
Recitals, performances, auditions, summer camps,
your growing up years were filled with music.
You graduated with a music degree to play
on the streets of Portland. You wanted to bring Bach to the people
(that was a year of worry).
Then you met a musician who cares
as much as you do about music.
Now you play in a symphony.  
The music informs every day.
Now you are a mother.
Now you talk of getting a real job.

Leda Rose, 3 months, in her father's viola case

Octpowrimo's prompt for the 15th day of October asks us to write a poem to someone you cherish about something important to them. Bloch's Nigun remains my favorite piece that you play, Rachel.  Here is Joshua Bell.


  1. This is daughter plays viola at her middle school and loves it. She gets very upset if we refer to it as a violin by mistake. Your poem perfectly captures the committment and dedication of the young musician.

  2. This brought tears to my eyes, Beth. Such a beautiful tribute.

  3. Absolutely beautiful. Oh, how I love this poem.... ahhhhh.... and what a precious little baby. :~)

  4. Thank you all for your kind comments. I'm not really sure this is a poem, but the words barely capture what I feel when I think about the years of artistry, discipline, and commitment -- and the very low pay that makes it almost impossible to be a musician. I could console myself that Rachel has played from the heart for so long, but just now, she ponders giving up her music as she truly begins to understand what being a mother entails.

  5. Anonymous6:35 AM

    i'm reading this just before work...have a cold and would rather stay home in bathrobe, ESPECIALLY after reading your poem. But there's no subs for the kindergarten...

  6. I suspect its power is that it is a poem of the years for Rachel no matter her decision. Truly lovely.


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