Monday, 14 September 2009

TFE's Monday Poem.

Each Monday Totalfeckineejit (see my blog list) is asking us to post a poem on a given theme. This week he tells us to listen to a piece of music and write about the experience. Here is my contribution - with a brief explanatory note:-

I have a hearing loss, which I have had for many years. Over that time my brain has somehow "forgotten" harmony. Don't ask me how - but I understand it is a common problem amongst musicians who have a hearing loss. Because I am a musician and like to listen to the harmony I find I can no longer listen to music - the sound is meaningless and I am sometimes at the end of a piece before I have even got the "tune" so that I can identify it.

Missa Solemnis (Beethoven)

Bath, it was. The
university
lawn, a fine
summer day, filled
with the
resonance of
student voices.
And a record
player
on the grass,
and a glass
of wine - chilled white.
And that first
full burst
of voices -
loud -
splitting the air -
drowning
all other sounds -
then fading
to one,
crystal note
that cut
thro' the soul
and pierced
my heart.

My ear now distorts
and fragments music.
The chords disperse
and sound like shattered glass.

I need a place
in which to store that memory.
I cannot shatter my dreams.

26 comments:

Mistlethrush said...

Excellent first stanza - sets the scene without wasting a word. Well done.

Rachel Fox said...

Oh Weaver! Like the plot for a novel...the musician that forgets harmony. Can you remember music then but just not hear and take in anything new?
x

Leilani Lee said...

I had no idea a partial hearing loss would remove harmony from from hearing. I would echo Rachel Fox's question! Would you be able to sing the harmony part (alto, second sop) if you were in a choir?

willow said...

Sad you can't enjoy listening to music like you once could, especially being a musician, Weaver.

Totalfeckineejit said...

I'm sorry, that is a terrible loss Weaver,I didn't know about that. It's amazing though how you rise above things and this is by far my favourite poem that you have written,the first stanza stands out,I really like it.Thanks again for joining in,it's great!

Pondside said...

Very poignant - hadn't thought that about the loss of harmony with a partial hearing loss. Do you have a memory 'in your bones' of it?

NanU said...

Wonderful, Weaver, full of beauty and sadness. I like how the glass of wine is revisited shattered.

Leenie said...

A fine piece of writing. It brought up quite a visual of students harmonizing on the green--crystal. Then the sadness of loss--shattered glass. I hope your memories continue to contain that beautiful time.

patteran said...

Deeply sad, Pat, and beautifully rendered.

A friend of mine has degraded hearing and her great love was music - specifically jazz. Now, like you, she can't listen to music any more so I know a little of your loss.

Heather said...

How sad that you can no longer enjoy listening to the music which gave you so much pleasure. But your memory has allowed you to share that enjoyment with us in your lovely poem. My mother used to love listening to music on the radio but found her loss of hearing distorted everything. I didn't realise until reading your post, that it was a common thing.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Carol.

Rachel - Yes I can remember harmony - I can hear pieces in my head quite well but when they are reproduced on air somehow my brain cannot sort out the sounds so it becomes a jumbled mass.

Leilani Lee - an interesting question you post - my answer is that I don't know. I stopped singing in choirs a long time ago.
I can sing a single line in tune - but relaly have no idea whether I could fit in with a choir - shall have to try it with a group of friends.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Willow - yes in a way I do miss it. I still play keyboard but find that the top register sounds completely wrong at first - but if I keep playing octaves I eventually hear the top register correctly, which suggests it is my brain rather than my hearing (I suspect that prolonged slight hearing loss has probably made my brain lazy)

The Weaver of Grass said...

TFE - glad you liked the poem - I really am enjoying your monday slots so don't stop yet will you.

Pondside - yes I do have a memory of music - I hear it perfectly well as long as it is in my head rather than in the air.

Thanks for visiting NanU

The Weaver of Grass said...

Leenie - where would we be without our memories.

Dick - interesting to hear of someone else with the same problem. I have a friend who used to sing with the BBC Chorus and she has exactly the same problem - I think it is brain rather than ear related.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Heather - I have to think music rather than listen to it nowadays - not all that difficult to do really.

ewix said...

I agree. The best of many wonderful poems.
This one really resonated with me.
Very sad.

Rachel Fox said...

I just reread this and realised that we both used 'crystal' today (in very, very different contexts!).
There are some beautiful thoughts in yours.
x

Poet in Residence said...

Thanks for the timely reminder. I've quickly dashed off a little ditty for tfe. Loved your poem - except the cold white wine reference pulled me up sharp - I'd have rather liked a warm Italian, perhaps a Merlot, or failing that a half decent Zweigelt.

Titus said...

Weaver, this is beautiful and sad and very well-written.
To echo those above, this is a phenomenon I knew nothing about, and the loss you describe has made it very real, and memorable.
Sorry, but congratulations, I really liked the poem.

Poetikat said...

Lovely but so sad. Dare I add it conjures images of Brideshead? (Rachel, don't look at me like that!)

I can't imagine that loss. Thank heaven for the persistence of memory.

Kat

Dominic Rivron said...

Agree with Mistlethrush. I knew this piece was special to you and have you to thank for the fact that I know it. It is incredible.

Janice Thomson said...

How poignant - this is one of your best Weaver. A very touching and much enjoyed piece.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

It is very hard to know which sense it would be most difficult to live without because each one is so important. Such a shame that you are unable to enjoy music as you once did. Wonderful to have the memory.

I'm co-hosting a meme next Monday. If it doesn't conflict too much with TFE, I hope you'll join in.

the watercats said...

I found this very poignant reading after your explanation. I had no idea that harmony could be lost, I guess being lucky enough to not have to worry about it... It's interesting to imagine that harmony is such a fragile thing... Your poem is beautiful, like stepping into a warm dream.. thank you :-)

Linda said...

Weaver,
I loved your poem! It reminded me to be thankful for the miracle that our bodies really are. Ears are fragile. Our brains can try to compensate in unimaginable ways for the losses we suffer trying to perceive and make sense of our world. You, from need, have expanded a portion of music interpretation in your brain that the rest of us lack because we haven't had the need to develop it. I empathize about what you have lost, what's been shattered, but I am happy it wasn't a loss in the area of language, because I love your blog so much. You have a gift for weaving stories and ideas, not only grass.