Friday, August 24, 2018

Cello Love

Hello and happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for Roundup.

This weekend I am attending the annual Adult Strings Weekend at University of Alabama where me and Lady Godiva (my cello) will join other amateurs in an intense weekend of learning and rehearsals and a Sunday open-to-the-public performance.

I attended this event last year, and I learned SO MUCH! I am very excited to participate again this year. You can read more about my cello life and see some of my cello compatriots at our Birmingham Cello Project blog.

One of my ongoing writing projects is a memoir that celebrates living life as a beginner and focuses on my adventures learning to play the cello as an adult. I've been so busy lately with my work for children that I haven't given it much attention. But today I was reminded of a poem I wrote for that project called "Cello Love." It's my pleasure to share it today with all of you! (I don't think you have to be a cellist to relate to this... probably anyone who has spent quality time with a musical instrument of any kind will relate.) Thanks so much for reading!

Cello Love

Is is the way she fits
against me, how we become
a moving puzzle,
a patchwork of motion
and sound?

Is it the way walls fade
as notes – even illicit ones –
raise rafters,
                    praise sky?

Is it the way the strings
forgive my fingers,
teaching me
to forgive myself?

Is it the way the melody
saddles skin  muscle    bone
to rattle its way
into the single cell
at the center of my heart?

Or is it the way the music isn't mine
and never will be –

yet when we sit together,
all knees and hollows,
long scratches
and unmentionable scars

we sing to each other,
                      you belong.

- Irene Latham


  1. Beautiful ending, Irene! I also especially like "Is it the way the strings/forgive my fingers,/teaching me/to forgive myself?"
    Have a resonant weekend! Wish I could see the performance at the end xo

  2. Irene, your love for the cello comes through your poem-"We sing to each other." "a moving puzzle,
    a patchwork of motion
    and motion"
    Beautiful thoughts!

  3. Oh! This is music. Thank you, Irene. I wish you a glorious weekend of communion with Lady Godiva and friends both human and wooden! xxxx

  4. Oh, wow, Irene, that is absolutely gorgeous. I don't play (though I dearly love cello music), but I love the way you tap deeply into the relationship we have with a thing we love, a thing which becomes so much more than a thing -- it becomes a part of us. Lovely!

  5. Breathtaking, Irene. Have a glorious weekend - I know you will!

  6. Wonderful love poem you've penned about you and Lady Godiva.
    "we sing to each other,
    you belong."
    –perfect! Makes me want to reconnect with my neglected banjo–hope I will soon. Have a glorious time this weekend Irene, thanks!

  7. The passion you put into everything you do, your celebration of life as a beginner, is inspiring, Irene. I look forward to reading that memoir one day. xo

  8. Your weekend sounds marvelous, Irene. I'm touched by the love you show in your poem. Ingrid, my oldest granddaughter, is struggling with the 'next step' in her guitar-playing. I will share "Is it the way the strings
    forgive my fingers,
    teaching me
    to forgive myself?" this poem & this part especially with her. I loved playing in the orchestra, being a part of beautiful music. It is a special relationship which you wrote about so beautifully.

  9. The cello definitely has the ability to rattle at the centre of your heart as you say. I used to play cello in high school and I wish I would have kept up with it. But always great to listen and relate to at any age!

  10. Your poem resonates. I am mom to two violinists and a cellist, and their notes will always quiver in "the single cell/ at the center of my heart." Thanks for giving me words for that feeling.

  11. Your poem is masterful. So much to love, but the best is the relationship between you and this instrument. "The music isn't mine." But the relationship, the movement, the sound belongs to both of you.

  12. I've studied clarinet, guitar, and piano, and yes - I can readily identify with everything you are describing here! I especially love "puzzle/patchwork."

  13. Can't wait to read "a memoir that celebrates living life as a beginner!"

    I played classical guitar for a few years and your poem made me remember how the music was transmitted into my very core as I held the guitar against me. Sigh...

  14. What an interesting idea...starting something as an adult and writing a memoir about that. Huh. That never would have occurred to me. You always make me think about writing in new ways. This poem is a treasure...especially the questions it raises bringing the reader into the wonder. Lovely and musical too.
    Thank you for choosing to share it with us this week.

  15. I have been looking forward to reading this since I first glimpsed the cello on the link up page. I play the flute instead of cello and can relate to every line. My daughter plays the cello, too, and I love listening to her.

  16. That last stanza is splendid! Your poem is simply enchanting, Irene. I always admire your way with words!


Your thoughts?