Saturday, February 11, 2006
Jim Strickland sent this around a list--so thought I'd put Joel's poem up alongside these fiddle photos. No--this is not becoming a fiddle blog--more banjo back again soon!
The Fiddler's Reply (poem)by Joel Mabus
It's a question that I've heard beforeAnd all that I can say to that is -- no sir!No sir!I have played a tune in the dark on the porchOf a prairie farm -- summer rain comingDown so straight you could set your chair right thereOn the edge of the porch and keep bone dry.Such straight regular rain, they say, is good For the crop. Good for tunes too, I say,Deep in the night, listening to the corn.And I remember a tune one winterAfternoon up north, fiddling after chores.The sun staring in through a wet kitchenWindow -- all ice outside, all steam inside.My chair tips back; the woodstove snaps loudly,Popping irregular time to the steppyTunes, flannel and coffee, bisquits and boots.I've played tunes on a fine spring eveningAt the town hall dance where everybody shows,Joking with the caller, shaking off winter,Stretching limbs, swapping partners for neighbors.Good healthy tempos break the first real sweat.Long lines forward and back and -- Look! Outside!The sun's still up on a fine green evening !And then there is a tune I know that plays justLike a cold November morning. Sober.Inside, looking out. A gray air that wantsChords unresolved -- turning into the mistLike so many leaves, riven and broken,Returning from sky to earth after fall --The undeniable fall -- calls them home.I have played tunes -- not songs. Not voiceable,Obvious word-infested songs -- but tunes,Each tune a puzzle, each one a boxWith its own proud secret. Each its own smileSweetly shown -- each tune is a lesson pondered.Pattern -- at once familiar yet unique --Like snow crystals -- like footprints -- like the wayThe world is right now -- that's what a tune is.No sir.No sir. They don't all sound the same to me.