Treasure Island

Jesse Ellsbury

(March 23,1982 / Washington D.C.)

Adept at the Helm


Long ago, her serpentine fingers skipped the ivory shuffle
across the keys of music. In crowded concert halls
the voices of Bach, Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff
echoed passionately, filling the sanctuary of sound.

At the piano, her back straight in well-practiced pose,
she looked proud and noble. Yet through that discipline
great excitement could be seen and heard in her fingers.
She caressed the keys with the familiarity of a lover.

In her flowing dress, she was the figurehead to the ship
she led, with its piano-lid sail raised to let the sound
resonate. As the song climaxes, she begins to glissando
rapidly down the keyboard, years of practice paying off.

Many years later, I sit in her living room as she passes her
knowledge and talent to me. I feel honored to have been
called “adept at the helm.” And as her arthritic hands
wearily lay down her tune, I vow to pick it up proudly.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Edited: Friday, July 26, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Dreams of a piano player better than I.

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