FIRST SINGING LESSON
Like some unwanted old bassoon,
Sad comic of the orchestra,
Conduit of mistaken farts and groans,
Now left to gather attic dust,
Reeds split, keypads unstuck, the case
A velvet nest for mice and memories
Of Bartok and a starring Mozart role,
My voice responded only to a daily round,
Of supermarkets and desultory chat,
Of booking dentists and of movie seats.
An aural calling card but nothing
More, no call for skills or pleasantry.
But under tutelage it stirred at chords,
Aping their sonority. Catching the
Flight of clear soprano séductrice,
Adapted to instructive work.
My God! Such wanton eagerness!
Unhampered by those obstacles
Of hoarseness and of ignorance. This was
Immediacy, a sense that would improve,
That would disgorge the mystic dancing dots,
Their tones, their times, their links to all
Those godlike names and temperaments:
And there’s a jeux de mots to start the course.
Modest repeated echoes of a phrase,
A line, a verse and then the whole damn song,
The voice alone engaged; I left my mind
Behind just then; later I’ll comprehend
How sounds elide, combine and ultimately affect
Those cords – not chords – within the throat,
And I become a child again, helpless yet,
But loving it, the willing victim of a force
That, through adult complicity, tells of a
Language I may speak with competence,
Newly equipped and willing to discourse
About the better side of things.
Note: Rewritten before and after lunch.