I’m posting the following poem in response to Stevie Turner’s Friday Write feature. You can click here to participate.
This poem was published in Mingled Voices 6, an annual poetry anthology produced by Proverse Poetry of Hong Kong. I’m planning to review this book here Friday. So, please stay tuned. You can click on the poem’s title to hear me read it. Below the poem, you’ll find a back story and YouTube video of the classical piece referenced. Enjoy!
by Abbie Johnson Taylor
With fine, golden curls gleaming in summer sunlight,
gazing eyes, long lashes,
cherry lips so tempting to kiss,
she stands on grass, silent.
As my father struggles to play, on the piano,
the flowing melody and harmony
that Debussy so beautifully created to depict her,
the girl with flaxen hair
dies a slow, torturous death,
every wrong note, every pause
a stab to her heart,
until she crumples to the soft grass.
Oblivious, Dad continues
to plod through the piece,
note and chord by painstaking note and chord
until he brings it to a discordant conclusion.
My father enjoyed playing the piano when I was growing up. He had no formal training but could read music, and I think he wanted to be like his brothers, who played the piano and guitar, and his father, who played the saxophone. My father played jazz standards pretty well after he practiced them. But he never fully mastered the one classical piece he took an interest in playing, Debussy’s “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair.”
I was inspired to write my poem, “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” after reading a similar poem by a fellow critique group participant about how his father played Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” I found, on Wikipedia, the original poem on which “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” was based. I incorporated concepts from that poem to explain how my poor, dear father, may he rest in peace, inadvertently destroyed this beautiful creature with his attempt to play Debussy’s work.
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?