Poem for the Week

“The Pupil” by Donald Justice (1925-2004)

Picture me, the shy pupil at the door,

One small, tight fist clutching the dread Czerny.

Back then time was still harmony, not money,

And I could spend a whole week practicing for

That moment on the threshold.

Then to take courage,

And enter, and pass among mysterious scents,

And sit quite straight, and with a frail confidence

Assault the keyboard with a childish flourish!

Only to lose my place, or forget the key,

And almost doubt the very metronome

(Outside, the traffic, the laborers going home),

And still to bear on across Chopin or Brahms,

Stupid and wild with love equally for the storms

Of C# and the calms of C.

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