Finally, in Tune!
For more years than I can remember
I warmed the piano bench
On the back porches
Of grandmotherly piano teachers
Who chided me for not putting in my practice time.
I endured hours of practice balancing
A penny on each wrist
To learn and maintain
Correct piano-hand posture.
The fun wore off as the pennies plummeted to the floor.
I elevated myself to a reasonable height
By sitting atop telephone books
In order to reach the keyboard
And practice with those darn pennies
– The ones that seemed determined to dare gravity.
For some reason, I stayed connected
To the music
And became a medal-winning pianist
I wore a long white dress of red-dotted swiss fabric
To a recital at a junior college
And playing on the baby grand on stage
Made it worth the practice time, the pennies and the phone books.
But my desire deteriorated
After moving to yet another city
Because it meant
Another new teacher
And I was certain that his unimpressive exterior
Would probably mean more gritted-teeth endurance.
Oh, how wrong I was
Because it was Mr. Ferguson
His lanky lack of muscles
His job as a church pianist
And his one sentence to me
That helped me discover
Joy at the keyboard
Freedom in playing
And determination to continue
Because he unlocked my mental cage
And told me to
Stop playing “like a girl.”
Thank you, Mr. Ferguson, wherever you are.