Volume 8, Number 44, 2005

A Fiddle And A Violin
By William Wardill

The country fiddler leads us through the dance -
step, hop, step, hop - twirl around and prance.
The schottische beat resounds throughout the hall,
with side-by-side couples moving to its call.
They break into a circle step and skip about some more.
On each heavy beat, men grin and pound the floor.
Underneath, the floor joists groan and shiver, as in fright,
and dust motes swirl above each table long and white.

Oh, we were joyful then, to hear a country fiddle play,
and that happy sound seems as close as yesterday.
Step, hop, step, hop, step, hop, hop.

But when a concert hall resounds to a master’s violin,
its sweet sobbing plays upon my soul-strings,
bringing faded ghosts of memories,
penned away in chambers of deliberate forgetfulness.
I knew them once, but I hid them all away,
masked their faces, erased their names, divorced them from their time.
There is no remedy for the guilt
of loves unrecognized and kindnesses withheld
that lingers still in banished memories.

When the violin stops playing, my cheeks are tracked by tears.
The silence is a soundless song,
played on broken strings.