Treasure Island

Tony Jolley

(17th June 1958 / England)

Your Left Hand


...For my daughter, upon watching her play piano and finding melodies of a beauty so far out of my reach...

Your left hand looked a lot like mine – but it wasn’t.
Your left hand moved a little like mine – but with far greater grace
[well, it would, wouldn’t it – you suit so well the name we gave you].

Fluency flowed liberally from your fingertips,
For all the world as if the keys were calling for your caress:
Attending upon your attention.
Michaelangelo sought the shape in the stone –
Do you likewise feel the form in your compositions unborn?
Do you hear the harmony sing to your soul
Before it finds its way, unchallenged, to your fingers?

I sat entranced, captivated, taken to another time,
Moved by the gentle motion
And the familiar sensation tickling my spine
From both sides of my skin
Making my shoulders hunch to nuzzle
That spot on the nape my neck I know they never will reach.
That’s how I know…..that’s how I know.

How do I tell you?
How do I make you understand?
You are special, yes, because you are mine
And I am proud of the woman you are walking towards,
But how do I get you to see
That what comes now to you so naturally,
Bearing all the hallmarks of the exceptional, the extraordinary, –
Is not great because you are my girl,
But is great because it is.
There are no means to measure what you can, or cannot do:
No rules to restrict or to regulate you,
For this is the world where you write as you wish
Where you are unfettered, free and fearless,
Where you answer to no-one,
Where the choice is all yours and infinite,
Where you transcend time and teaching
To become, in your own way, a teacher eternal.

You are still learning, My Little One.
You will always be so because you love and love to learn,
But here, as they say, is ‘the thing’:
All the skill and dexterity you command,
You use;
And you brook no barrier between
Your spirit and the sound you bring into being.
Oh how rare is this, do you not know how rare?

How rare you are, my love, how rare.

Submitted: Thursday, May 27, 2004
Edited: Wednesday, June 16, 2004

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  • Alison Cassidy (9/25/2008 3:44:00 AM)

    I chose this one because... my Jerry is using his left hand (his right is clumsy after the stroke) .... Ravel wrote such a beautiful piano concerto for the left hand... My son is a southpaw...

    And I found this beautiful tribute - a special poem that bursts with pride and yet is never arrogant - but humble, as a parent should be. You are the bow from which she, the arrow of tomorrow, flies. Your write beautifully Tony. It's been a while since I've read your work and I'm certainly far from disappointed to discover this little gem. love, Allie ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (Report) Reply

  • Peter Hesp (12/5/2007 2:35:00 PM)

    Such perceptive, sweetly flowing poetry, for which I thank you. But (most humbly and seeking another's viewpoint) may I ask why the convention of blank verse? Prosody is all very well with metrical rhymes but is there truly a need to interrupt the flow of such poetic prose by breaking it up into separate lines? Perhaps poetry, unless in rhyming lines, does not need to be boxed in this way; I have presumed to try some of your work rendered as prose and find that, for me, it is infinitely more fluid and satisfying thus. May I beg a moment of your time to ask for your opinion on this? Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • Dee Daffodil (10/23/2006 1:53:00 AM)

    Lovely tribute to your daughter... I've often found myself at a loss for words, to explain how I love my children so, and just what they mean to me...but you've done it so nicely! ! Bravo!
    Hugs,
    Dee (Report) Reply

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