Frank Benner
piano technician

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piano stories

Piano poetry


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 the 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.

David Herbert Lawrence 1985-1930 Great Britain

Those Who Carry

Those who carry grand pianos
To the tenth floor wardrobes and coffins
The old man with a bundle of wood hobbling beyond the horizon
The woman with a hump of nettles
The lunatic pushing her baby carriage
Full of empty vodka bottles
They all will be raised up
Like a seagull feather like a dry leaf
Like eggshell scraps of street newspapers
Blessed are those who carry
For they will be raised.

Anna Kamienska Polen


Early in the morning I hear on your piano
You (at least, I guess it's you) proceed to learn to play.
Mostly little minds should take and tackle their piano
While the birds are singing in the morning of the day.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Maw-Maw's Wish

Tiny finger press
the stiff piano keys down.
Maw-Maw listens as if Mozart or Beethoven
were playing a special concerto just for her.
Mistakes never even touch her ears.
She listens as her only granddaughter plays.
The old wooden piano.
Though it was old and sounded
like a child beating on tin cans,
to her she was hearing a grand piano.
The chipped wooden keys
were seen as ivory through her eyes.
Every nick and scratch was another fond memory
of her family.
Her only wish was for me to play the piano.
Years later I play the piano
while angels carry the notes up to heaven
for Maw-Maw to hear.

Leigh Anne Bonnema

My Piano

I have elastic piano.
It has mustard on it.
Peanuts on it too.
Maybe if I stand still my piano won't wipe out.
Squirt me some mustard to dance with on the elastic floor.
Oh! How about some peanuts too.
Give me a piano to play the wipe out song.

Taylor Davis (Elementary school student)

A Piano Plays

Music, in variety thrives,
And the glory of song is within your eyes.
Trumpets and drums and fiddles too,
Reflect the songs I find in you.
Violins cry, cellos moan,
With music of dreams, of love, of home.
Deep within a piano plays,
Springing forth to you this day.
Providing a home for it and you,
I give you love and devotion too.

Dennis R Graham

Player Piano

My stick fingers click with a snicker
And, chuckling, they knuckle the keys;
Light footed, my steel feelers flicker
And pluck from these keys melodies.

My paper can caper; abandon
Is broadcast by dint of my din,
And no man or band has a hand in
The tones I turn on from within.

At times I'm a jumble of rumbles,
At others I'm light like the moon,
But never my numb plunker fumbles,
Misstrums me, or tries a new tune.

John Updike

To Lina

Should these songs, love, as they fleet,
Chance again to reach thy hand,
At the piano take thy seat,
Where thy friend was wont to stand!
Sweep with finger bold the string,
Then the book one moment see:
But read not! do nought but sing!
And each page thine own will be!
Ah, what grief the song imparts
With its letters, black on white,
That, when breath'd by thee, our hearts
Now can break and now delight!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

Piano Practice

The summer hums. The afternoon fatigues;
she breathed her crisp white dress distractedly
and put into it that sharply etched etude
her impatience for a reality

hat could come: tomorrow, this evening--,
that perhaps was there, was just kept hidden;
and at the window, tall and having everything,
she suddenly could feel the pampered park.

With that she broke off; gazed outside, locked
her hands together; wished for a long book--
and in a burst of anger shoved back
the jasmine scent. She found it sickened her.

Rainer Maria Rilke - 1875-1926

The Piano

When my heart is unsettled,
And tossed about the seas of emotions,
My fingers go to the keyboard,
Where my soul bleeds the pain,
Into the notes,
Into the music,
And I seek peace,
Among dead composers.


In the two hands

of that girl sitting at the piano
ten together
twenty together
fresh bright fish,
following the sparkling light,
come bursting out one after another.
I went to the seaside
and caught
one wave
of the most thrilling deep blue.
prefers lowly places

Ponggon Chon 1928-1988 Korea

The Piano Lesson

like a little buddha
the big fat deaf siamese sat
purring on the baby grand lid
while Ms. Simms
plunk, plink plunked
on the keys

D A Sebastian

A Black Bird-filled Piano

Black birds on telephone wires
or notes on a page, to be played
on piano.
Flying round, or staying still;
a sound hovering in air.
Whizzing past the ear,
a race of black and white.

Shining teeth and paper
the black birds' soul delight,
to sit and look at
cloudy sky, from dawn, to noon, to night.
'Til stars shine out
against a darkened sky of black,
to sing out the heart's own song.

There, outside my window,
black birds on telephone wires,
the notes....
the life.....
of a black bird-filled piano.

Brittney O (age 15)

Piano of uncivil law

this piano is always played
but slowly slowly loosens pitch
drifting keys flex a growing dissonance
the pianists do not hear
they are exercising ever exercising
as the tone declines across the octaves
we summonsed
we hear their scratching clash
we see their schadenfreuderern
pillocks in the audience
i have hired the sphinx's amplifier
speakers the size of pyramids
the rasta dj
they're on the way

Dylan Harris

The Day the Piano Tuner Came

It was an event
in our house that Saturday,
my daughter wrestling
the mute "E", bitter "C",
I, wanting no more missing teeth
in the songs I play
between dinner and bedtime stories.

So he came, rumbling
up the driveway in his VW Squareback
raised the top of the spinet,
exposed the rows of felt hammers
waiting like teeth for a dentist.

His delicate ivory hands
smoothed the grooves
out of the tiny felt heads,
we heard less of the ping - ping
as he poked, his head
tilted to one side,
I'll bet he turns
his head the same way
to a conch shell
does not hear waves
but concertos coming to shore

Martha Clarkson

If I could I'd go back, sit down by you both,
And sign our true armistice: you weren't to blame.
I shut my eyes and there's our living room.
The piano's playing something by Chopin,
And Mother and Father and their little girl

Listen. Look, the keys go down by themselves!
I go over, hold my hands out, play I play --
If only, somehow, I had learned to live!
The three of us sit watching, as my waltz
Plays itself out a half-inch from my fingers.

Randall Jarrell 1914-1965 USA

A Writing Pianist