Mrs. Lowe has two pianos

by Larry Chamberlin   Jul 1, 2013

Mrs. Lowe has two pianos;
with one she's taught five generations
of neighborhood children;
no recitals, just the joy of learning
to play Christmas tunes
and traditional melodies.

This instrument is brown, upright
and the keys amber with the touch
of so many fingertips on the ivory.
She no longer likes long fingernails
on her students, because the girls
wear grooves in the surface,
but she'll look at the acrylic paste-ons,
sigh, and say, "Let's get started."

Mrs. Lowe is widowed for years
from the husband she adored.
Once they went to the store
for new sheet music and Mr. Lowe
saw his wife admiring a beautiful
black baby grand they couldn't afford.
Much later, he surprised her:
"Come on, baby, let's go,
we need to pick up your new piano."
His picture sits on it
always smiling at her.

Mrs. Lowe has two pianos,
one is used by children learning
Ode to Joy or Carol of the Bells;
the other one sits undisturbed,
top down, red velvet lining
showing along the lid-seal,
more red velvet covering the keys
whenever the key cover is raised.

But in the evenings, after students
have gone to their homework or
off to the soccer match, traffic slows
and the sun is low, Mrs. Lowe raises
the lid and the warm crimson velvet
soaks the room in nostalgia.

Then off comes the key cover,
Mr. Lowe's photograph moves
to the music holder, and Mrs. Lowe
dedicates to him all the love and devotion
kept hidden in the heart strings
of his baby's grand piano.


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Latest Comments

  • 4 years ago

    by kitten

    This piece is beautiful, it tells a story and shares an emotion that may or may not be one close to your own and yet you are so able to make it honest and detailed while still in some odd way being relate-able. It is a very well penned piece and it says so much in such a profound manner.

  • 5 years ago

    by Lost Soul 691

    An emotional felt story for the ages. A love that's never ending. I now have a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart. Superb write.

  • 5 years ago

    by Jenni Marie

    Judging comment:

    "Being completely honest, the first time I read this, I wasn't sure on if I liked it because of the story formatting style of the piece. However after reading it a few more times I realised I was beginning to fall in love with it more each time I did.

    The emotion and meaning in this is phenomenal. I couldn't help but smile at the mention of acrylic nails, I'm not a music player but can imagine how tiring that would become to someone who is.

    The last two stanzas are what really won me over. I find them beautiful and incredibly moving. It heartens me to think there is people like this in the world, those that don't let go of their loved ones and refuse to drown in loss and despair but to keep the happier memories alive.

    The whole concept of Mrs's Lowe's love being never ending, lasting forever and dedicating her heart to Mr Lowe night after night once again, even though he is no longer with her. It reminds me that those we love are never truly gone, not as long as we keep their memory alive, and Larry does a wonderful job at displaying this within this poem.

    Such a moving and heartfelt poem. "

  • 5 years ago

    by L

    Judging Comment for weekly contest : July 8, 2013

    There are those poems that tell and there are those others that show and "Mrs. Lowe has two pianos" is a great example of those type of poems that stream an image instead of just telling an idea. I like the approached that Larry Chamberlin took. I also think that just showing, it's a risky move but in this case it was worth the shot. Often times, we as the reader may want to read how the narrator is feeling about the story he/she just narrated, but in this case I find it fascinating how Mrs. Lowe is depicted that I just grew attach to the character and came up with my own feelings. I immediately pictured a woman who is passionate about her job? or hobby? I'm unsure about that part, but either or this woman taught many children how to play the piano and still continues to do so. It is her perseverance and motivation that I find so inspiring and even more that she continues playing the other piano to her husband. He may be just a picture in that piano he bought for her, but there's more to it than just the melody she plays for him. And that's where this thought hit me, that people often say that materials things come to a second plane and I agree, but there are times when material things keeps us closer or at least make us believe we are closer to those who by destinies reason are no longer with us and it is because of that that people start cherishing a material object the most, for the emotional value it holds just as Mrs. Lowe. She doesn't let her students used that piano but only her. This poem is moving and there are undoubtedly difference ways of how to feel/react to it. Great write.

  • 5 years ago

    by Poet on the Piano

    [Judging comment for week of 7/08/13]:

    What more can I say about this piece than the sincere love of the couple that is painted throughout your words... you warmed my heart and put a smile on my face in showing this very spirited woman who teaches piano to neighborhood children, maybe not "professionally", but teaching them the basics, the traditional songs we can all sing together. Felt such peace in this poem, especially with the relationship of the man and woman and how he notices the little things that interest his wife. He cares. And he doesn't just see she loves that baby grand, he works toward it for her. What a legacy of love he left behind and I know she carries it on each time she touches the keys. This is her passion and in that music I feel so much is expressed, and it's sent straight toward Heaven.

    So touching! I loved how your skilled hand still kept flow and rhythm in this storytelling. What a story of these two lives uniting and the true definition of a beautiful romance!