The piano

by Megan Chapman   Jul 29, 2019

A piano made as pianos were back then,
Her body graceful Edwardian elegance,
The absent candelabra a thing of wonder when she was new,
Ivory keys still white, thanks to the length of muslin lovingly folded across them when not in use,
The quality of her tone and pitch still a joy
Now more than a hundred years on.

A family heirloom
Held on to through decades of craziness and betrayals.
So much else lost and sacrificed along the way,
but never her,
Never the piano,
No matter the challenges of moving and accommodating her all those crazy years,
My heart’s desire only
To bring her on through the generations for my grandchildren.

Of no value now,
I’m told,
Too big, too old, too much responsibility
Officially unwanted.
This grand old lady
silent now for decades,
For little fingers to open up her heart again…
Not to be.

I want to deny my feelings,
I have to.
Squash them down, squeeze them away,
I can’t let myself go there
But grief sits just behind my face,
pushing so hard,
My cheeks full of it,
It puffs up under my eyes,
I purse my mouth to hold it in
Pinching my lips with my teeth
My ears ringing and pulsing with the effort
I want to let it out,
But I don’t dare
there is so much there
I don’t know if I will be able to put the pieces back together if I do.
Oh god, I didn’t expect such gut wrenching grief over just an old piece of furniture,
It’s like a hole has been opened in my heart and all the sadness and disappointment and betrayal and horror is pouring out now,
There are not enough sounds for my agony,
It feels like I could never have enough body and being to express my grief.

All those years of living on hope,
lurching from one business or life disaster to another
Always hoping that the next one will be the turning point, the one where we finally come into the home paddock.
All those dark, long, lonely years of struggle.
I thought I was holding something of value
in the heart of the tattered rags of my life.
Something worthy of being passed on.

Not to be, not wanted.
All just a void of value now apparently.
Her spiritual, emotional and musical riches
Invisible and intangible
To those whom I expected to be her next family.

That heart dream I cherished of passing something of worth on
Just a pipe dream apparently,
Yet another dream to grieve.

© Megan Chapman


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