Old Music Books –by Jinny Batterson
(Written in the “dog days” of summer, when the kids are ready for school to start again, when it’s easy to forget that the heat and mugginess will one day dissipate–music can be the best comfort food of all.)
Boxed up several moves ago,
Shelved in a musty basement
In their most recent stowage.
Last weekend I uncrated them,
Having finally purchased a used
Piano keyboard on which to play
Some of the music they harbored.
They reek of damp and mildew.
The pages are yellowed and weathered,
But the music still flows,
If a little awkwardly
Through my arthritic fingers.
In my mind’s ear,
Some of the initial joy
Of musical discovery
Flows out of them, too,
And some of the wisdom
Of composers long since dead
Who knew not to bury their ecstasies and despairs,
But instead to float them into melody.