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Folk Friday and Poetry

‘Musikgesselschaft, Petworth’, oil on canvas, by Joseph Mallord William Turner

Here it is, Friday again. Today was one of those days when I had to wonder why I’m being paid for what I do. I took our ESL students to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, then we had a scrumptious lunch at Le Mercato. I can’t think of a better way to spend a work day.

It’s been a busy week. Last night I went to an open-mike session with a friend of mine at Local Jo, a cosy coffee house here in Halifax. This session takes place on the last Thursday of each month, and if you’re in town and feel like hearing a widely diverse selection of fiction, poetry and spoken word performance, I’d recommend it. Shauntay Grant, Halifax’s poet laureate, was among the performers and she is amazing. I couldn’t find a sharable video, but here’s the link to her myspace page, where you can hear her perform.

Shauntay Grant

The evening inspired me to write a poem for the first time in years. A little background: My husband, a professional-level musician, inherited his talent from his mother, who taught piano into her eighties. When she passed away two years ago we inherited her piano, and playing it has been great therapy for him. In music, ‘Father Charles goes down, ends battle’ is a memory crutch for learning sharp key signatures and the reverse works for flats.

Chopin falls soft on the ear,

The remembered cadence of childhood

Lessons learned. Father Charles goes down, ends battle.

Battle ends, down goes Charles’ father.

Through worn ivory keys

Mother comes to you

Speaking words of wisdom. Let it be.


  1. Julia Smith
    October 2, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Love your poem, Jennie – my mom and I kept my gram's piano and though we don't play it, my uncle does sometimes when he comes over.

    And thanks for the link to Shauntay – I really enjoyed her 'Such is life' spoken poem.

  2. Jennie Marsland
    October 2, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    'Such is life' is an amazing piece, isn't it, Julia? So powerful.

  3. Ann Stewart
    October 2, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    You make me want to visit more and more, Jennie. I hope you got some research in on your field trip! 🙂