Something happened when the flutes
accompanied the rains;
And the french horns gently followed
the vast grass plains;
and told of something rotten in the pride lands
When I heard those flutes and saw the water
I cried at school: I was four, and my friends
I cried into the cello part;
but heard it too clear for any comfort:
it told me in languages unspoken
that a son would lose his father,
his family, and his home.
Barely able to articulate words,
I settled down and let the
film continue. The father died:
and I thought I could move on.
But the flute and horns
returned when the ghost
of Hamlet’s father appeared
I kept it together best I could:
till the cello at last loomed again
in the rumblings of the lost father’s storm
and I knew before he was gone
that I wouldn’t see mine
when I went home.
Music can hold enormous power in memories and experiences, transporting us instantly to an age, location, or person. What sonic joys, mysteries, disbelief, and clarity have you experienced? Identify songs of influence in your life and explore them like variations on a theme, melding syntax and song structure, recalling the seriousness or levity that accompanies. Whether it’s an account of when a specific song first entered your life, the process of learning to play a song, teaching someone a song, experiencing the same song in different places as it weaves through your life, unbelievable radio timing, sharing songs with those in need, tracking the passing down of songs, creative song analysis, music as politics, etc, I am interested in those ineffable moments and welcoming submissions of your own variations on a theme, as drawn from your life’s soundtrack. Please email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye out for others’ Variations.
**(“song” is a broad phrase: could be a pop song, a traditional tune, a symphony, commercial jingles, a hummed lullaby, 2nd grade recorder class horror stories, etc)**