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A love of mine must wait awhile before
Sufficient time enables me to sit.
What joy when I can rediscover it!
Exactly what I needed now, and more:
Enjoying gentle music that will pour
Through fingers plucking four thin metal strings.
Denying now the call of other things—
Uncanny how this time my heart restores!
Luxurious vacation now to strum
Contented little songs imperfectly,
Imagining sweet variations on
Melodic harmonies that to me come,
Erasing stress and tension blissfully,
Releasing joy for me to feed upon.

by Gwennon
June 25, 2008

One day when I was sick, my husband surprised me with the tear-drop dulcimer I had been wanting since I was 16 years old. This has been a lot of fun for me, and occasionally my husband or one of the kids will pick it up and start absently strumming it. Let me tell you, this is a very friendly instrument that makes even very amateur musicians sound very good. And so, now I have the crazy idea that every family ought to own a dulcimer. Some very good kits can be found at MusicMakers online. Or you can buy one already made.

A couple of years ago, I innocently wandered into the music store, intending to buy only piano music, when a gorgeous, walnut dulcimer with beautiful heart-cutouts on the sound box and exquisite clean lines caught my eye. I asked to play it, thinking that this might kill the sudden infatuation I was feeling. But it didn’t. The dulcimer had been perfectly fretted, was tuned to perfection, and garnered me unexpected compliments from a couple of other shoppers. I have been dreaming of it ever since.

Anyway, getting back to poems and poetry, this was a poem I worked on slowly over a period of several days (or perhaps weeks). I carried the unfinished manuscript folded in my purse, retrieving it whenever a new word or line caught my attention and needed to be documented. On one of the hottest days of the summer, my husband took the kids and me to the theater, where we waited unobtrusively in a very slow-moving snack line. Suddenly, as more words for the poem came rushing to mind, I began digging in my purse until I had found the poem papers and pen to start writing. I should make clear to you, my kindly readers, that we were disturbing no one, and also that there was no one else we knew in that part of the theater. But somehow, in the simple act of working some more on my poem in public, I was beginning to morph from Invisible-Gwennon: mild-mannered stay-at-home mother-of-four into Word-Catching-Gwennon: Poet-in-Action. I could almost feel my cape of superpowers beginning to swirl elegantly about my shoulders as, unconsciously, I began to rock up and down on my toes. “What are you doing?” my daughter Lizzie shrieked, at fairly alarming volume. To hear her, one would have thought I had stripped naked and begun dancing on the counter.

“Nothing,” I snapped, defensively. “Just catching a few more lines.”

“Well!” she huffed, “Do you have to do that here?”

“What? Do you think all poets carefully cloister themselves inside a locked bathroom to do all their writing?” I demanded.

She spat back, “One could only hope!”

Does anyone else feel slightly unappreciated in their time?

Moving right along, now that summer is here and we all supposedly have numerous extra hours to fill, I thought that for this week, I would celebrate some of my musical loves – or, probably more accurately, seasonal infatuations – by posting music poems. Maybe we can all find or make the time we need to explore our musical interests by practicing a bit more.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Praying for God to open your eyes to the joys all around you,