I would listen to her

My mother may not have been
the most talented of pianists,
but she might have won a trophy
for painful persistence since childhood.

Night after night she would cautiously feel
her way around the keyboard, chording tentatively,
picking out melodies carefully, pausing very often,
never perfecting a song, but always trying.

The last song she ever attempted to master was “Vincent,”
Don McLean’s tribute to van Gogh, to his most famous painting,
“The Starry Night,” seen as a representation of the artist’s struggle,
some message to the world unheard, his work under-appreciated.

In Leicester, my brother-in-law, Pete East,
played the song, and she has fallen in love with it,
heading straight to the House of Music to buy
a copy of the sheet music after she flies home.

She would play that song every night, month after month,
each night straining, just as much as the night before, fighting
to polish her performance of the piece, but never doing so,
and then, for some reason, finally giving up the piano forever.

* * * * *

Today’s word is


Use it in a piece or to inspire one, and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read what you write.

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