The Christmas Fake Book
slumps a little, limp
beneath the piano light,
looking a bit leftover
this december twenty-sixth–
as if it could not hark
to one more herald angel,
little town of Bethlehem or
not-so-silent night.

It has served well
the eye, the ear,
the memory in the fingers
dancing on the keys.
It has sustained the loud,
the tone-deaf-but-sincere,
who gathered here to sing
those half-remembered verses
come to haunt again this year.

Now it’s done,
like christmas day itself–
all noise and wonder
packed in a small space.
It will go back
to live among the sheaves
of music on a shelf, there
at the very bottom of the stack,
to take its usual place.

14 responses »

  1. Yes, Cynthia, you captured today perfectly. I had to chuckle, as you do occasionally, as I read of the ‘tone-deaf-but-sincere’ and the sufficiency of not having to ‘hark to one more herald angel.’ You write with a freedom and ease which I love!

    • I was worried some might not know a “fake book” is not phony, but the scores musicians use from a scant line of melody and chord prompts to create and improvise. I have learned to use them to my joy after strict training via Mozart and Beethoven (whom I also love.) I also could not resist the possibilities of this metaphor..which your comment tells me..worked!
      My heartfelt thanks and happy New year!

  2. You do wield a wonderful pen my dear – and never fail in your wake to leave scented dust, of memories so dear. Sigh! Prepare we now to greet the New Year. Another step closer and away from things held dear. What nostalgia.

    Much luv, peace and blessings,

    • It has been an interesting blogging year, has it not? Despite the fact that your taste in topics to write about reminds me of one of my favorite and exasperating younger brothers (I have five of them)this little old lady appreciates your talent and passion for the written word, and thanks you for being a friend. Looking forward to a good new year for us all!

  3. Oh I love this; it’s fabulous! I have not actually heard of a fake book before! I still grasped the essence of the poem though, then when I read your comment explaining it, I could read again and it became even more meaningful.

    I dont think anybody I know among my poet friends on WP could express Boxing Day as well as you do here. I just love your style/voice. It’s just perfect.

    Nobody gathered round our piano; it seems to be something that died out in our family a generation ago, but if we still did it, I would stiil be as stone deaf but sincere as I ever was!! In fact I was the one whose fingers touched the keys, though they didnt so much dance as plod! 😊

    Here’s to an inspiration filled 2014, and I so very much look forward to your poems; you are one of my very favourites!!

    • Hi Christine! Your family is not unique in having lost the “sing along” over a generation or so. Too bad, because there’s something really good about people singing in chorus ( chorus–core–coeur–courage—heart). My friend and I used to enjoy singing in the car on road trips, until the youngsters in the back seat made fun of us…you know, they of the ear plugs and iPods who have little appreciation for amateur singing. Ah well…Thank you for all your kind words; they warm the cockles of the heart.

  4. Lovely Cynthia, and I am glad to have learnt about the fake book 🙂 Your poems are always a treat 🙂 Looking forward to reading more! Best wishes for 2014!

    • And best wishes to you, too, Ina. Your poem today had me longing for the sea, and here I am inland by high mountains! Ah, well, we cannot have it all, n’est- ce pas? May 2014 be a great year for poetry!

  5. “those half-remembered verses
    come to haunt again this year”

    Ah, so perfect, Cyn!!! Yes, whew! it is over for another year. May we have the courage to keep trying to create the Christmas we want to live!
    I, too, learned tonight what a “fake book” is, though as a non-musician, I don’t really understand.

    • Whew! Captures my sentiments too. The fake book is a brief music score–instead of a whole arrangement note by note to be played by rote. It just gives a basic melody and tells what chords go with it….kinda like that old saw where somebody asks the pianist “Do you know that old song “Scatterbrain?” and the pianist replies “No, but if you hum a few bars, I can fake it…”

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