Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

The Violin

by Elaine Holmes

My father played the violin.
Not quite a virtuoso,
But well enough to entertain,
To make old ladies cry into their gin,
To gather the family and bind them
In refrains of Auld Lang Syne
 
The instrument lay half forgotten,
Nestling in its velvet lined case.
Missing just a string or two,
A scratch on its worn frets
Holding threadbare memories,
Proud remembrances of happier days
 
Often I held the violin,
Inexpertly in my arms.
An awkwardness between us.
An apologetic ensemble
Of pregnant silence,
Of aborted melodies
 
One April day,
An ordinary Saturday,
I overcame my shyness
Drew the bow across the strings
And listened to its voice,
A sweet and tortured strain
 
And slowly
We began to get acquainted
Little by little,
Stealing half hour here or there
Until we built up a solid friendship,
A legacy of my father’s love.

Added: 26.03.2011

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