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Monday, 7 May 2012

When Music was the Food of Love

The Suburban Village #4



Small, frail and white haired lady, less
timid than she looked, of great
antiquity, who taught me (in a way
of speaking) the piano -
though in more truthful terms,
I'd have to say, she gave me lessons
and I soaked them up. I loved
those hours of practise and tuition
and if the music left me, not unmoved,
but somehow not transformed
or challenged at the core, I know
Miss Gleeson left her mark for good -
and that for good - upon my soul.
And I know too I had a crush on her.

Which of us two was masochist
and which the sadist, I'm not sure,
but for a while, and to our mutual chagrin,
we added violin -
a project that was shipwrecked when she heard
how I would practise it in bed.

A life-long Methodist of Primitive
persuasion, Miss Gleeson soon became
my sounding board for what was right
or wrong - a situation which exposed
her now and then to disappointment -
and me to episodes of darkest guilt.
(As when, for instance, she discovered,
pencilled in my "Definitions",
mine for a sextet.)

To Father Probity she seemed
The Antichrist. Her saintliness
cut little ice with him. She was a Methodist -
and that was that. He warned me
about fellowship with her. And so it was,
one Armistice Day Celebration
as he officiated at the War Memorial,
that she arrived with friends.
He gathered up his soutane and strode off,
muttering about dissenters in our midst..

Of her true worth I only got to know
on hearing that she'd died. And I was mortified.

14 comments:

cloudia charters said...

how wise and fitting!


Warm Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

The Elephant's Child said...

I suspect that all saintly people are alienated from their church/any church. Almost a prerequisite. Which says nothing good about the churches concerned.

The Weaver of Grass said...

They don't make 'em like that any more Dave - more's the pity.

haricot said...

We need to "Method" for progress on any music, including lovely love.

Daydreamertoo said...

One day (maybe) we'll all wake up to the fact that organised religion has divided us all in so many ways. If we are human we are all close to God, and priests and people of the cloth are no closer than anyone else. You get close to God by finding Him within, not going to any churches, I believe.
I'm glad she left her mark on you, I bet you were mortified when she passed away too.
Great piece Dave.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Oh this is good!

Began reading it on the dashboard in its sort of prose form - and I knew how you would structure it before I came here - the rythm of how to read it was already in my head!

Grand stuff Dave!

Anna :o]

manicddaily said...

This is just wonderful. The story and the flow of language and the inherent pathos in the situation. Well-done! K.

Tabor said...

I do not trust those who flee dissenters...!

Mary said...

Father Probity obviously did not understand the Bible's main message!

Miss Gleeson was definitely an inspiration, and understood more than Father Probity ever did about what was important.

Brian Miller said...

yeah the good father is a bit skewed i think...of course i am going to hell for rock n roll myself...she though sounds like a lovely lady...and spreading the music is a high calling...smile.s

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Intense portrait and memory, one more of a collection that would be perfect as a book.

Muhammad Israr said...

very well written as always :)

Windsmoke. said...

Most enjoyable indeed :-).

Dave King said...

cloudia
Thanks. Enjoyed that!

The Elephant's Child
I think I agree.

The Weaver of Grass
No, you're right. They sure don't, more's the pity.

haricot
Indeed, yes.

Daydreamer too
Yes, the contrast between her and Father Proberty was an education in itself.

hyperCRYPTICal
You almost make it sound like I've developed the beginnings of a voice! Thought I never would Thanks for saying this.

manicddaily
Thank you so much for this.

Tabor
Nor I. (Maybe it derives from then.)

Mary
I am inclined to think that Father Probity's main concern was the ritual. He came to what had been a "low" CofE church and tried to make it Roman, so there was much friction between him and many of his parishoners.

Brian
Yup, I think you about have it!

Tommaso
Thanks for this. Am thinking.

Muhammad
Thanks greatly.

Windsmoke
Thank you.