This poem by harpist Helen Radice's father (see the rest of her post here) made me remember holding my fingers up in the air and thinking they were too thin to play double-stops on my violin. I also fretted that my left middle finger was crooked from being slammed in a car door when I was a kid (young enough that the fingers were pretty rubbery, but still...)
My previous teacher said that mine
Were true musician's fingers, thin
And long; but his are short and thick,
Craggy, weathered, firm, like rock.
He says one's fingers must be strong
To make the piano dance and sing.
To make the piano shout and kill
One lets one's weight of body fall;
The greatest strength is used to form
Those softest dabs of sound that seem
To lift the heart beyond its beat,
Just as a dancer's feet are light
Whose calves are strong as piano-wire!
And this is why I'm still so far
From making the music match my heart.
He says that it will come out right
My hands grow stronger, if I try;
But he must know that there's no way
These spindly fingers can be made
As strong as his, as firm and wide.
My previous teacher said that I
Was very good: one day I'd play
Superbly well. She made me vain.
She said my hands were long and fine.
These lovely words about hands also reminded me of a tender moment with Melina, my daughter, who has been a driven individual since before she could crawl. One day when she was in the single digits we were on a walk and she started crying and I asked why and she said: "Because I'm afraid when I'm grown up I won't know as much as you do." !! ??
I held her tiny hand up to mine and said, "Melina, when your hand is as big as mine is, you will know as much as I do, or more, I promise." And so it is. She knows everything I know. Or everything, at least, that a person would want to know - the other things I know are dark and sad, and a life without knowing them would be a better life.
Not only does she know everything I know, but she also can read a camera manual, schmooze fearlessly, rollerblade, and whistle.
Technorati Tags: Memory, Music, Hands, Kids