Note for Note
Lovers always know their doom.
― Lynette Roberts
The shadows from the past don’t sleep for long.
They wake when least expected, as note for note,
an old piano plays an unwritten song.
Your double spies a long-lost love you wronged,
waiting on a pier. All that’s now rote.
Such shadows from the past don’t sleep for long.
Wherever you call home, you don’t belong.
Cassandra winks, “Mon cher, you’ll miss your boat,”
while an old piano plays an unwritten song.
(Listen, as all you passed up sighs among
breeze-swept fronds on a stretch of unmarked coast.)
Those shadows from the past don’t sleep for long.
They rise before tomorrow greets the throng—
when shoulda, coulda, wouldas dog and dote.
That old piano still playing its unwritten song,
some nights you wake, alarmed by the same strong
wind roaring one name—as if to gloat.
The shadows from the past don’t sleep for long,
as an old piano plays an unwritten song.
MARK MANSFIELD is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Strangers Like You (2008, revised 2018, Chester River Press) and Soul Barker (2017, Chester River Press). He has a chapbook titled, Notes from the Isle of Exiled Imaginary Playmates (2020, Chester River Press) due out this summer. He received a B.A. in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. His poems have appeared in The Adirondack Review, Anthropocene, Bayou, Blue Mesa Review, The Bookends Review, Canary, Fourteen Hills, Gargoyle, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Iota Poetry Magazine, The Journal, London Grip, Magma, Measure, Potomac Review, Salt Hill Journal, Star*Line, Tulane Review, Visitant, and elsewhere. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee. Currently, he lives in upstate New York.
2 thoughts on “Note for Note”
You caught it just right. My 70-year-old experience. I’ve been trying to write this poem. Thanks!
Thank you, Rick!