To Pauline Wong

Do
A deer
you taught me
how to stretch
my fingers around
crotchets and minims
how to read
clefs and breves

Re
A drop
I pause and begin
at the tap of your foot
the rap on my knuckles
the metronome stands
nothing but a symbol

Mi
A name
you gave me
patience in semibreves
happiness in quavers
fleeting semiquavers
and I showed off
with the demisemis

Fa
A long long way
we exist in two timezones
You said one day
we’ll watch an orchestra
together at the Esplanade
I still wait for that day

So
A needle
I, the thread
that you tried so hard
my fingers to unknot
“Octopus hand”
you say when my wrist
raises itself as I attempt
to reach beyond an octave

La
A note
you play
for me to sing
the examiner must
be impressed
I must not tarnish
your repute
But Aural always
took me over

Ti
A drink
one day we’ll share
when I find you again
It’s been seven years
and counting
but you’ll always be
the one that taught me
how to practice
how to feel
how to be
my art

And you will bring me back to
Do

No one knows me like the piano
in my mother’s home
– Sampha

thepianist

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Barfuß am Klavier

Is it okay to want to play

everything at once

I’ll be barefoot at the piano

and naked at the harp

Can I sing you a lullaby

without losing my rhythm

Can I bid you goodbye

but not for eternity

Will you let me come back

and play you Chopin

Will you let me fly away

and learn the ukulele

Do you think I could save the world

one song at a time

Cool down the earth

with my equations

Could I extricate

all your knowledge

Is it a labyrinth

is it too intricate

Can I mix it all

my art and my science

Can I just be

a busker on the street

Would it hurt you to know

I’ve played it all

but all I want to be is

Barfuß am Klavier