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Do you know poems about the fiddle/violin?


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One of my hobbies besides the violin is the poetry. I love to read a good poem. One of my favourites is "the fiddler of dooney". I wonder if any of you know more poems about the fiddle/violin or poems where it occurs. I would love to hear them.

To make a start and to all of you who don´t know "the fiddler of Dooney" by W.B. Yeats, here it is: (tell me how you like it)

When I play my fiddle in Dooney

Folk dance like a wave of the sea,

My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,

My brother in Moharabuiee.

I passed my brother and cousin,

They read in their books of prayer;

I read in my book of songs

I bought at the Sligo fair.

When we come to the end of time,

To Peter sitting in state,

He will smile on the three old spirits

But call me first through the gate,

For the good are allways the merry.

Save by an evil chance,

And the merry love the fiddle

And the merry love to dance

And when the folk there spy me

They will all come up to me

With : Here is the fiddler of Dooney

And dance like a wave of the sea

[This message has been edited by the fiddler of dooney (edited 03-29-2000).]

[This message has been edited by the fiddler of dooney (edited 03-29-2000).]

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The Violinist

In Dresden in the square one day

His face of parchment, seamed and grey,

With wheezy bow and proffered hat

An old blind violinst sat

Like one from whose worn heart the heat

Of like had long ago retired,

He played to the unheeding street

Until the thin old hands were tired

Few marked the player how he played,

Or how the child beside his knee

Besought the passers-by for aid

So softly and so wistfully.

A stranger passed. The little hand

Went forth, so often checked and spurned.

The stranger wavered, came to stand,

Looked round with absent eyes and turned

He saw the sightless, withered face,

The tired old hands, the whitened hair,

The child with such a mournful grace,

The little features pinched and spare.

"I have no money, but" said he,

"Give me the violin and bow.

I'll play a little, we shall see

Whether the gold will come or no"

With lifted brow and flashing eyes

He faced the noisy street and played.

The people turned in quick surprise

And every foot drew near and stayed.

First from the shouting bow he sent

A summons, an impetuous call.

Then some old store of grief long pent

Broke from his heart and mastered all.

The tumult sank at his command,

The passing wheels were hushed and stilled.

The burning soul, the sweeping hand;

A sacred ecstasy fulfilled.

The darkness of the outer strife,

The weariness and want within,

The giant wrongfullness of life

Leaped storming from the violin.

The jingling round of pleasure broke,

Gay carriages were drawn anear.

And all the proud and haughty folk

Leaned from their cushioned seats to hear

And then the player changed his tone

And wrought another miracle

Of music, half a prayer, half moan

A cry exceeding sorrowful.

A strain of pity for the weak,

The poor that fall without a cry.

The common hearts that never speak,

But break beneath the press and die.

Throughout the great and silent crowd

The music fell on human ears,

And many kindly heads were bowed,

And many eyes were warmen with tears.

"And now your gold" the player cried,

"While love is master of your mood"

He bowed, and turned, and slipped aside,

And vanished in the multitude.

And all the people flocked at that,

The money like a torent rolled,

Until the grey old battered hat

Was bursting to the brim with gold.

And loudly as the giving grew,

The question rose on every part,

If any named or any knew

The stranger with so great a heart.

Or what the moving wonder meant,

Such playing never heard before

A lady from her carriage leant,

And murmured softly, "It was Spohr."

Archibald Lampman

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This isn't a poem, but it is very poetic prose.

Robert Louis Stevenson, wrote this to a friend because he felt that he had been in one place too long. "That tells on my old gypsy nature; like a violin hung up, I begin to lose what music there was in me."

He then told his mother" "I must be a bit of a vagabond; it's your own fault, after all, isn't it? You shouldn't have had a tramp for a son."

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Twas tattered and scared

and the old auctioner

he thought it scarcely worthwhile

to waste much time

on the old violin

but he held it up

with a smile

"What am I bid, good folks? he cried

"Who'll start the bidding for me?

A dollar, a dollar,

now two, only two

Two dollars, and who'll make it three"

"Three dollars once, three dollars twice

Going for three"

BUT NO!

From the room far back a gray haired man

came forward and picked up the bow;

Then wiping the dust from the old violin,

And tightening up the loose strings,

He played a melody so pure and so sweet,

as sweet as the angels can sing.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,

With a voice that was quiet and low,

Said: " What am I bid for the old violin?"

And he held it up with the bow.

"A thousand- and who'll make it two?

Two thousand- and who'll make it three?

Three thousand once and three thousand twice-

And going and gone!" said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,

"We do not quite understand.

What changed it's worth?" swift the reply

THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER"S HAND

And many a man with life out of tune

And battered and torn with sin,

Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd,

Much like the old violn.

A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,

A game- and he travels on,

He's going once, and going twice,

He's going- and almost gone!

But the MASTER comes, and the foolish crowd

Never can quite understand

The worth of a soul

and the change that's wrought

BY THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER'S HAND

BY: Myrna Brooks Welch

Dear Fiddler of Dooney,

I looked this up and found the author, I've heard it in song form with a beautiful violin piece in the middle, but I can't remember who performed it.

lineman

[This message has been edited by lineman (edited 04-06-2000).]

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Fiddler of Dooney - this one was written by a student - kinda cute.

The Seedling

I began life as a seedling

deep within the forest;

surrounded by the mighty oaks,

with chirping birds in chorus.

The years rolled by, my branches grew,

thick black bark they'd gain;

nourished by the warm gold sun,

washed by cool, clean rain.

I grew so tall, my trunk so thick,

my leaves could reach the sky;

the tallest tree in the forest now,

I caught the axeman's eye.

That fateful day I hit the ground,

I thought it was the end;

never again to feel the wind

make my branches bend.

Those branches turned to pencils,

four hundred thousand strong;

my bark made pure white paper,

on which they wrote a song.

Some of me was used for benches,

some for table legs;

shiny brand new cabinets,

barrels, crates, and kegs.

But best of all, a craftsman saw

my heart of pure tight grain;

he took me home and chiseled me

with hammer, saw and plane.

A sander made me smooth as silk,

then varnish was applied;

the scroll was carved so beautifully,

each turn a work of pride.

Pegs were made and strings attached,

I'm set to try my voice;

the craftsman held me lovingly,

my sound made him rejoice.

For centuries to come,

I'll sing a song so clear;

so let me now begin new life,

a VIOLIN so dear!

Lora Rose Schusler

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Dear Fiddler of Dooney,

I'm not sure who wrote that poem but I'll do some checking and get back with you. While I'm here just wanted to let you know I enjoy your posts.

lineman

As mentioned above, the poem was written by Myrna Brooks Welch

Thanks, lineman

[This message has been edited by lineman (edited 04-06-2000).]

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Check out the thread I posted :"Who's up for a challenge?" Poetry is its goal.

IN MY HANDS

I see you shape, and I'm attracted

I touch your neck, and I'm tempted

I feel the spirit that lies within

When I hold you, in my hands.

This is the heart you've settled upon

And these are the arms you will be cradled on

Those are the feet that dance to your tune

And this is the soul that will keep you.

People have carved you, generations mould you

Time has carried you, tradition beholds you

What time has taken passion has kept

What my heart has felt, the music has sent

And through your voice I hear your stories

And in these hands they become my own

And the old times and old memories

Called to life, beneath my bow.

In my hands

Written by Natalie MacMaster and Amy Sky

[This message has been edited by High Strung (edited 04-13-2000).]

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The Given Note

On the most westerly Blasket

In a dry-stone hut

He got this air out of the night.

Strange noises were heard

By others who followed, bits of a tune

Coming in on loud weather

Though nothing like melody.

He blamed their fingers and ear

As unpractised, their fiddling easy

For he had gone alone into the island

And brought back the whole thing.

The house throbbed like his full violin.

So whether he calls it spirit music

Or not, I don't care. He took it

Out of wind off mid-Atlantic.

Still he maintains, from nowhere.

It comes off the bow gravely,

Rephrases itself into the air.

Seamus Heaney, in Opened Ground, Selected Poems 1966-1996

(Farrar, 1998)

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  • 7 months later...

FIDDLER JONES

The earth keeps some vibration going

There in your heart, and that is you.

And if the people find you can fiddle,

Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.

What do you see, a harvest of clover?

Or a meadow to walk through to the river?

The wind's in the corn; you rub your hands

For beeves hereafter ready for market;

Or else you hear the rustle of skirts

Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.

To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust

Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;

They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy

Stepping it off, to "Toor-a-Loor."

How could I till my forty acres

Not to speak of getting more,

With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos

Stirred in my brain by crows and robins

And the creak of a windmill - only these?

And I never started to plow in my life

That some one did not stop in the road

And take me away to a dance or picnic.

I ended up with forty acres;

I ended up with a broken fiddle -

And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,

And not a single regret.

Edgar Lee Masters, 1915

This is from The Spoon River Anthology, a long book of poems based on tombstones in the cemetary of an Illinois town where Masters lived as a boy. The characters are based on real people. If my memory serves me right, Cooney Potter was a banker, and rather unpleasant. It's a great book.

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I had posted this in another thread "anyone up for a challenge" and figured it goes here as well.

On Playing the Habeneck Strad

I was not prepared

I expected terror --

Lineage bearing down --

To cramp my hand.

Yes, I dropped it over and over

For a second, imagined splinters

About my feet. I didn't clutch.

It wouldn't let me.

Then it was there, lodged

On collarbone, and so light

As if Berlioz' ghost had taken

Some fraction of the weight.

How long, I wondered,

Since this tender conglomeration

Of wood and physics

Had suffered so rank a beginner.

Surely there was once a child

Or a fat aristocrat

Or an awkward curator. And

Now there was me.

I played, so badly, and still

It thrilled even to my touch,

Inviting, amused, clear-toned

Smilingly unforgiving.

--Guy Gallo

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  • 4 months later...

..had to bring up this topic again, I found another poem smile.gif

FIDDLER JONES

THE EARTH keeps some vibration going

There in your heart, and that is you.

And if the people find you can fiddle,

Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.

What do you see, a harvest of clover?

Or a meadow to walk through to the river?

The wind’s in the corn; you rub your hands

For beeves hereafter ready for market;

Or else you hear the rustle of skirts

Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.

To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust

Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;

They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy

Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.”

How could I till my forty acres

Not to speak of getting more,

With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos

Stirred in my brain by crows and robins

And the creak of a wind-mill—only these?

And I never started to plow in my life

That some one did not stop in the road

And take me away to a dance or picnic.

I ended up with forty acres;

I ended up with a broken fiddle—

And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,

And not a single regret.

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950).

Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

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The Touch of the Master's Hand is by Myra B. Welch, and it is also a song. My mother had it played for my Great Uncle's funeral service last year.

I don't know who wrote the music, the CD is at my sister's house.

My great uncle was an old-time fiddler and he worked on broken violins. They called him "The Fiddle Doctor" -- he played for dances from the time he was in high school, up until just a few years ago.

There wasn't a dry eye in the group after the song finished.

Of course, I didn't catch the violin bug in enough time to learn from Uncle Ted.

I'll check for the composer information. It has a sort of traditional 70's inspirational-country sound to it. I'm sure it's been recorded by a number of people.

-deb

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  • 19 years later...

I am resurrecting this 20-year-old thread to share a poem I found in a case, wtitten by an old-time fiddler who is a customer of mine:

 

Well, I'd play Sally Goodin all day, if I could,

But the good Lord and my wife wouldn't take it so good.

So I fiddle when I can and work when I should.

 

Makes perfect sense now

If you've ever played Sally Goodin.

 

Who ever thought

Of tying notes up in such a knot?

Wicked cool.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Brad Dorsey said:

I am resurrecting this 20-year-old thread to share a poem I found in a case, wtitten by an old-time fiddler who is a customer of mine:

 

Well, I'd play Sally Goodin all day, if I could,

But the good Lord and my wife wouldn't take it so good.

So I fiddle when I can and work when I should.

 

Makes perfect sense now

If you've ever played Sally Goodin.

 

Who ever thought

Of tying notes up in such a knot?

Wicked cool.

 

 

Most of this is John Denver “thank god I’m a country boy”

”I’d fiddle sally goodin all day if I could 

but the Lord and my wife wouldn't take it very good.

So I fiddle when I can and I work when I should,

thank God I’m a country boy.“

Great Song, btw.
 

Edited by PhilipKT
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