These precious wooden eggshells
Out of their tough cases they are vulnerable
But locked away they cannot sing –
when singing is their reason for being.
There is always a tender tension
in a good musician whose instrument
is resting on a chair
even as he chats with colleagues
in an orchestral teabreak.
part of the mind is always attentive
to the fragility he has drawn
out of its case. An attention
not guilty, but born of gratitude
for the open trust
that allows them to sing together.
The defenceless fragility of the walls
is what allows them to vibrate.
The strength of a tree planed down
to this delicate membrane of music.
And something is betrayed when these
fragile cocoons of sound
are ruptured by carelessness or spite.
My body is a dusty guitar
strung by the hair that falls
past the curve of my waist.
Wounds patched, barely visible now,
wholeness restored by patient hours of healing
until the intact walls are ready
to sing again. Yet still the dust lies thick,
undisturbed by the waves of emotion
that once shrugged away both dust and time
The waves of emotion that used to make me tremble
flowing up the shell of me and coming out in sound.
The waves that were stranded in the doldrums
when the songs of my heart
and my body
were silenced by the pain of love’s abandonment.
Unplayed, an instrument
grows stiff, loses its sweetness
must be coaxed back by the gentleness
of patient fingers. As if the wood
knows how fragile its defences are
and fears to once again
be twisted to play uncongenial tunes
by hands that force its fragile walls
not to resonate
Yet a body that has once known the joy of song
will always yearn to sing again.
And the music that is in me
cannot be silenced