The musician’s house

by Liz Trew

At the bend in the road I found the musician
looming large in his doorway, a shock of hair flowing
and face beaming as we walked through his dark house
which I would rent while he was away
playing to packed houses across the globe

leaving me with the keys and a list of instructions
never to enter the music room with the violins and pianos
locked away from my meddling boys
who were not allowed to have pets
though they could bring their tank of fish

remembering the year in our rented house
the sitting-room crammed with his grand piano
and stacks of books from floor to ceiling –
Studies in Harmony, Neruda’s Poems, Beethoven’s Letters
and Cooking for a Crowd

his flame-red sheets on the double-bed upstairs
the enormous dining table glowing in the dark
his rich bass voice and deep belly laugh
and the old woman opposite swooping across her windows
forever cleaning the glass

returning many years later I passed near the house
and saw him looking lost, swinging his stick in the road,
shrunk in a dark tattered suit,
wisps of white hair blowing in his musical space,
playing to the passing traffic.

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