Folks, everyone needs a vacation now and then. After a bit of a funk and then a lovely Thanksgiving, I have returned to Madison and will try to post daily. This poem is about a friend of over 30 years who has become a hero of mine. Selfless, talented, and an all-around great woman, loyal friend, loving wife, fabulous mom, and caring artist. For C., with love.
Therapy in Bb
Mrs. Kelly is dying.
The family wants the music therapist
to come as soon as she can.
So she revs up her little Vibe
heads towards the nursing home,
unlocks the trunk,
unloads guitar and gear…
preparing to sing another soul
to the other side.
Dying is easy – getting there is hard.
The soothing strum of her deft fingers,
her buttery smooth voice…
these are qualities of her calling.
As she almost whispers, “Danny Boy,”
Mrs. K’s shoulders relax;
fingers ease from clenched fists.
This family knows and trusts her,
and their shoulders relax as well.
Over the years, the music therapist has seen
the blank smiles of dementia,
heard their laughter, unprompted.
The tears of loved ones
trickling over forced, brave faces.
The final sigh, when death grants peace,
eight grams lifting along with her voice
Once, she sang in cabarets, acted in plays,
danced The Big Apple of Broadway dreams.
Music therapy has brought her more purpose
than playing adenoidal Miss Adelaide.
This calling gives her satisfaction.
Gives her purpose.
Gives her joy.
Gives her administrative grief.
Gives her patients relief.
Gives her backaches, but also
a swelling of her already brimming heart.
She is the angel of music
who helps death come in peace.