Anatomy of a note
I dust the keys for fingerprints —
iron oxide on ivory —
seek evidence of your fingertips
falling with forensic precision.
You taught us the anatomy of a note,
coaxed music from delinquent hammers.
Steel sinews sang with shock;
we held their dying into silence.
You played at your own funeral.
There was rain in every note.
Droplets beaded chapel windows,
orphaned pupils quivered.
You wanted to teach even in death:
leave your body to science,
skip the fuss of a funeral.
None could allow the legacy.
No scalpel shall dissect your mastery.
You opened our ears and fired our minds:
we poured our souls into sound and flew —
beyond notes, beyond anatomy.
© Vicky Arthurs 2017
About this poem
This poem is dedicated to my friend and piano teacher Professor Simon Young (1944-2016). It was first performed at his memorial concert at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London in 2017.
Simon was a gifted musician and an inspiring teacher. He taught piano at Trinity College of Music, where he also served as Director of Performance and Head of External Affairs. He later trained as a sports massage therapist, a profession he pursued while continuing to teach at Trinity Laban. His own piano teachers included Cyril Smith, Artur Rubinstein, Irene Kohler and Alfred Kitchin.