the innocence of self-expression

The Innocence of Self-Expression

Today, I visited my mom. She wanted me to play her piano which she had just tuned. I opened the piano bench and found a couple of piano pieces that a boyfriend from the past composed for me. There between two pieces of white cardboard, bound by gold ribbon and tape roll, E. wrote his heart out to me in notes.

“Expressivo et amorioso”…a 17 year old wrote in pencil… “andante”… Every single note was a dedication to me, his muse… a 16 year old girl. He titled his piece to me in French, Troisieme Serenade Semplice… Á Mademoiselle Jeannette… by E. He was my first boyfriend. He wrote poetry for me. There were a few of his writings to me – and there with his music I had shoved another poem in the collection that was dedicated to “jeannette, my bestest friend”… that was from D. a friend who I traded piano lessons in exchange for violin lessons.

I found a box which included many more of E’s poems, a few written in French. I found some drawings and more poems from more boys.

I am glad that I didn’t throw away these immortalized feelings put to art. This is the poem that E taped to the cardboard back cover..

Who will replace the mysterious Muses
Now that mythology has gone?
Inspiration was the game they played
Talent being their pawn.

They would fill a man’s heart
With a passion to create;
In which he would share his joy
With those he loved feelings great.

All that’s left of the Muses
Is a spirit of creating talents jubilee;
A spirit of inspiring others
Which lies in fair damsels such as thee.


He wrote this on three ringed, lined school paper and taped it to his composition. I remember now how he sat with me to read it to me and then he played the piece.

This is what D. wrote to me, his “bestest friend.”

I come to you, a jacaranda tree,
Behold thy beauty in a morning dew.
With painted fingers reaching out from thee,
To touch the Heavens with thy velvet hues.
Why is it that God favors thee before
All else that is His own? To shape thee with
Such twisted grace, a beauty all the more;
A mem’ry of the Eden lost: thy pith.
You stand there bent in beauty, mocking all
That gazes on as if thee God Himself.
I tell you, I would love to see thee fall;
Thine grip to slip from Heaven to thyself.
For this I come: to cut you down from here,
For mediocrity is less to fear.

D. signed his poem with the “composer’s name” that he wanted to use when he grew up. He gave me a tape of music he composed that he had a string trio play for him to record. I remember that I was a bit confused to be receiving a poem from a friend and that I didn’t know what a jacaranda tree was.

I imagine him typing this on his parent’s typewriter, indenting it and taking such care in his presentation. He chose a very nice linen heavy paper and penned his fancy name.  But I had spilled hot cocoa on it and stuffed it into my piano bench after being stumped on the word jacaranda.

I am a bit sad that I wasn’t present to the beauty that was being given to me. But I was young and thinking about school and planning for college. I moved across the country and got absorbed into a new world.

I find these things now because my mom is remodeling her house and I’m finally going through my belongings. I find the innocence of self-expression profound.



~ by jnetsworld on March 6, 2005.


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