In search of story

July 1.22: Coping, but barely


In crowded company

of musicians through the ages,

I’ve fumbled in attempts

to play while turning pages.

More than once I’ve chased

sonatas to the floor,

twisting off the bench

to nab the fleeing score.

Flagrantly contrary,

it always had the knack

to land so I’d dislodge

my sacroiliac.

To keep the left hand going

and play at obtuse angle

crossed Mozart with aerobics,

performance art fandangle.

Now comes a pageless music,

no flip and fumble here —

what a total wimp-out,

musicianship veneer.

What kind of ease is this?

It seems somehow a cheat

to keep your fingers focused,

turning pages with your feet.



More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg.


11 thoughts on “July 1.22: Coping, but barely

  1. Oh! Maureen, your poem is such fun! The only expertise I have in the field of music is listening to it and knowing what I like. In elementary school I played the Tonette and Triangles. I didn’t drop sheet music but I had a terrible time keeping my knees properly together while playing!

    Hope all the music you hear over the Fourth of July holiday makes you happy and brings back fond memories.

    • Thank you, Ginger! I actually remember Tonettes, though they were a bit after my time; our specialty was the Flutophone, which pre-dated the Tonettes, I believe; needless to say, I still have my Flutophone, teethmarks and all. It is certainly no small accomplishment to manage knees and instrument all at one time! I wish good music for you too this coming weekend. At least we don’t have to keep our knees together or turn pages to listen!

  2. This is a delightful look at then vs. now. Challenges today’s musicians will never know. Thanks for making me laugh and leaving me with a smile.

  3. Ohh! Especially doing solos! Bluegrass songs go so fast. The hope that I can remember a few measures til retrieving the song! And to keep breathing 😮‍💨 (hyperventilating from embarrassment lol)

    • Oh, how right you are: we certainly can forget to keep breathing because everything is getting away from us as we wrestle the pages! Woman vs paper. And Bluegrass, no less. For sure, you can’t stop to go page-diving.

  4. Love the poem and the smile plus I had a learning moment because I didn’t even know what Flutophones or Tonettes were so I got to look them up. Love the header shot too.

    • I can’t believe you didn’t get to play Tonettes or Flutophones back in the day, though I think you are a bit too young to be of the Flutophone generation. I’ve always had the sneaking hunch that all our parents took up a collection and passed it under the table to Sister so she’d retire the Flutophones and move to something more musical, like washboards. I am sure we sounded like feral cats for the most part, but we thought we were the Boston Pops. Glad you like the header — thanks! These little white snapdragons are so proud of themselves!

      • The Sisters where I attended did not include music in the curriculum unless it involved singing in choir, which I did. I don’t know why because I can’t carry a tune to save my life, but it was a nice group activity. 🙂

  5. Wow. We had a LOT of music in my grade school. And would you believe that the sister who taught us the Flutophone is celebrating her 70th jubilee this month? You reminded me of one of her favorite expressions with girls’ choir, when she’d stop our singing and say, “Somebody is singing down in her boots,” My friend Ann said that was always her cue to start mouthing the words. I wasn’t so great either so Sister put me at the organ. That also improved the singing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.