It’s not often that I repost something from another site, but I was so struck by the video below of pianos placed in certain places around Boston and the time-lapse photography that captured who sat down at them.
This D.H. Lawrence poem below also carried me back to a time when pianos were the heart of every house and everyone knew how to play them.
It and the video have stirred so many images in me.
I was a child at the end of the great age of the piano.
I feel I must stop everything I am doing and pull these images back with me into the dark cave of memory to listen for all that perishable/imperishable music that once sprang from their cracked old throats.
This is D.H Lawrence:
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.
And below is the video, as published today in the Globe. The Boston Public School department’s Office of Instructional & Information Technology created this video of the city’s recent public piano installation and posted it to its YouTube page this week with the following description:
The piano locations featured in this video are: Boston Common, the Old State House , the Museum of Fine Arts, Copley Square, Castle Island, the Esplanade, Faneuil Hall and City Hall Plaza. Praise the visionaries who knew what these sounds and images would bring to those who passed by, or stopped to play, or even only watched it here!