NAPOWRIMO: Day 1: A Beginning Poem/An Ending Poem or a Combination


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.