Soundtrack to Someday

It started out with crackle of vinyl
delivering melodies in fever high pitch
grooves that moved carefully through the tracks
of my favourite childhood theme tunes
nursery rhythms on repeat, over and over
Driving my folks to the brink
like an itch they couldn’t scratch

Then soundtrack switched to songs of your seasons
I swayed to the sultans of swing, didn’t mean anything
to me but fun and frolic, the soundtrack to your Friday nights
Dolly took me dancing through the years, as your cowboy boots
tapped out Tennessee tunes on the tiles
Your angst cashed in with Johnny or maybe a beer with Buddy
Fleetwood Mac and a slice of cheese courtesy of Cher
I was there, the background noise sifting through The Shadows

Motown rolled in with the undertones of my brother’s
teenage kicks, The Kinks, The Who and more besides
turned my attentions to the mod revival, as I watched
the winklepickers and button down collars of cool
Just wishing I was old enough to join your strut
Cut my curls to pixie style, swap colours for black and white

But the day the music died (in my house and heart)
was the day after your last, and you were lost
your encore disturbed as earth turned you underground
Our bridge over troubled waters collapsed
and we were all that remained, like the echoes
in gentle hum reverberating through the amp
The beat ceased and the band rolled out of town
and I waited in the rain, like a dedicated fan
Until the day they took your pictures down and
your memorabilia stowed, I finally faced the end
of the world as I knew it, sat in the stillness
Litter at my feet as the lights went down, time to go home
But you were home (to me) and I had no place else to go

After that I never picked over the piano keys
Didn’t find my alto voice (though I know now it exists)
Sheet music stalled, pages unturned by my hand
Nobody noticed I might have had a gift. And I wish, that I could
go back and find our tune, and learn to play it to the end

Written especially for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics hosted by Stuart McPherson

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80 responses to “Soundtrack to Someday

  1. Shit…this actually bought a year to my eye. So so beautiful…and it reminds me of all the nights I spent listening to my dads music when I was little- and now he’s passed- those tunes come back to haunt me. Also, the crackling of the final, the nursery rhymes- I was the same- used to drive my folks mad. The way you describe the music dieing- I’m assuming this is the loss of a parent? But the way you talk about it like band leaving town, leaving nothing but silence and rain and emptiness….about floored me. And this just poured out? Damn- what a great great poem – so heartfelt….just shows….music takes us there,makes us to places we will never forget.. Fantastic job

    • You assume correct boss, my mom when I was 11 and she was 36 (the age I will be this summer ironically) and it was exactly like the band rolling out of town. You wish they’d come back on and just play one more song…but you look around and every one else has gone back to their normal life, except you. Blah blah blah, anyway, enough tragedy, there was some Dolly Parton in there and that’s enough to make anyone smile surely?! Thanks for your kind and observant comments.

  2. wow…great weaving of a musical and emotional carpet here vanessa…esp. the part with the music dying is very touching…speaks of a great and real loss…of someone physically or about a big dream that never came into existence…

  3. But you can go back! You can’t let your song go unplayed…especially with so many ears willing to listen! This was fantastic…goosebumps and lonely ivories…girl…you MUST play!

  4. Wow… this is amazing. It made me think of life and death and grieving and letting go. No songs should go unplayed.
    Excellent work!

  5. oy…this tugged hard at the heart strings…some great song refs…and the day the music died is a great song but you put it in a totally new context for me…ugh heavy, i am sorry, losing a parent is so hard…went through that with my wife…great write…

  6. My soul is the music, the music is my soul, and you took me back to the time in my life when music became my love, all you mentioned have many memories for me. I lost my father nine yrs ago the 19th of this month. and I still can’t get over the irony that both my father and my daughter died on the 19th he in May her in Feb. Strange.
    Anyway love how weaved every title in and out of each other and their significance in your life. Awesome write my dear woman!

    • That is very sad to hear and I can only imagine how that must be for you.Life’s little ironies can be a bit confusing at times can’t they?! Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your story and I am very pleased that you were able to find things to connect with in this piece. Your comments are very dear to me Len, thank you so much.

  7. What a poem! So evocative, bringing back memories for me (some of my favourites!). The details here are wonderful, you’ve put so much work into this, well done. A fine, enjoyable poem.

  8. Really nice work here. I like how the piece, as does a song on many occasions, changes gears part way through, offering a range of emotions. Very nicely penned. Thanks

  9. Music gives us so much in memories, both happy or sad. Your mom was so young to have passed. 36 is no age at all. I can see why your world of music died too.
    This is a really lovely piece of prose. It has all of the ingredients to make the reader definitely feel what you are saying. I lost my own mum, suddenly, 2 days before what would have been her 56th birthday. This is heart-felt.

    • Thank you, although hope I’m not turning this into a self made pity party as it certainly wasn’t meant to be. I’m all good, just sometimes nice and cathartic to reconnect. Lots of people have sad stories, and many much more painful than mine. I have a whole collection based on my experiences in the run up to and following that period of my life which I hope to publish one day, but for now this will have to suffice. Sorry to hear about your mom too, it’s a tough one to lose that’s for sure.

  10. An amazingly powerful emotional poem so beautifully written ….and there’s the hub, right there (for me anyways) ‘and we were all that remained, like the echoes/in gentle hum reverberating through the amp’ ….. such strong lines on which the poems hangs

  11. Just today I was spinning vinyl as I wrote, enjoying the warm tones. Now I sit in silence, reading your powerful poem. My reaction shocked me a bit. Loved the ride you brought me on, all the way to its emotional end. thank you

  12. Wow… this really touched me. I agree with Tash. You need to get back to the music. It’s never to late to discover hidden talents!

  13. So many clear images in your piece. The most chilling moment for me was “like the echoes/in gentle hum reverberating through the amp.” Such a stillness in that moment. The beauty of this is you revealing that you hope to find that tune and you can because your mom is inside of you. Let her come out and play through your page turning fingers and ivory picking tips.

  14. Yes, a powerful journey through music.. like how you’ve harnessed all those flavours to reflect histories.. nicely done, Vanessa.. 🙂

    All leading to this.. which feels to me like your future:

    And I wish, that I could
    go back and find our tune, and learn to play it to the end

  15. Just incredibly sad. Very well done–starting out with such cheer. The lack of anyone to notice your gift resonates with the greater sense of abandonment. Glad for the Dolly Parton. K,

  16. Wow, poignant. I had a shock when you said the music died (for you). It reminded me how much music and relationships are often tied together. Thank you for sharing those memories of songs and music styles that have been dear to you.

  17. you did such a wonderful job with this, so poignant and heartfelt and haunting. the mix of musical references with the loss you experienced created an unforgettable poem.

    • I still love music, just wish I’d taken up an instrument or singing. The music dying is more of a metaphor for the loss of her melody in my life and then nobody being able to nurture it in me. Thank you.

  18. I thought I commented already. I had returned for a reread. I was much impressed and wanted to gleam more perspective from your words. This piece touched my heart and thumped my mind. I’m having a little tug-o-war tween music worlds at present and this inspires me to continue to stretch. Artistically we can never arrive. Too long a story for a comment, but I thank you for an excellent presentation.

  19. And if you think you might have had a gift, you probably did. Nobody noticed proves nothing. Hopefully the encouragement you’ve had from those commenting before me will have convinced you to go back and try again. The poem is a tour do force in my humble opinion.

  20. Nothing much left to say after all those who have come before. Beautifully crafted poem, I loved how you wove the song titles into the work.

  21. Absolutely beautiful. This year is clearly an enormous milestone. I wish there was something more helpful I could say ♥♥ Wonderful to discover talents I didn’t know about X

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