26 November 2008

In Honor of the Piano in Harwich, Mass

Recent news reports have shared the strange details of an abandoned piano found in the woods in Massachusetts recently - a good condition, Baldwin upright, complete with bench, sitting in the middle of the forest. How, why, and by whom it was left remain a mystery.

News organizations have snapped up the chance to ask if a piano is played in the forest and there's no one to hear it ... etc.

But here's another What If proposed by poet Winfield Townley Scott. (This is from a strange little volume I bought for $1 at the library book sale years ago. It's called Some Haystacks Don't Even Have Any Needle.)


If all the unplayed pianos in America--
The antimacassared uprights in old ladies' parlors
In the storehouses the ones that were rented for vaudeville
The ones where ill fame worsened and finally died
The ones too old for Sunday School helplessly dusty
The ones too damp at the beach and too dry in the mountains
The ones mothers used to play on winter evenings
The ones silenced because of the children growing away--
Resounded suddenly all together from coast to coast:
Untuned joy like a fountain jetted everywhere for a moment:
The whole nation burst to untapped, untrammeled song:
If would make--in short--a most satisfactory occasion,
A phenomenon which the scientists could never explain.

- Winfield Townley Scott


Anonymous said...

Beautiful poem!
Made me happy!

Wayne Clark said...

A friend sent this to me 40 years ago. Happy to find it again. Wish I could find my friend.