By Lois Marie Harrod

From Fall 2017

 Ms. Piano? 
 Soft and loud?
 I’d say soft and strong.

 How so?
 Gentleness requires fortitude.

 Still, they are difficult simultaneously.
 Ah, yes, the problem with harpsichords
 and battered . . .

 I was going to say drums,
 the way little boys beat them
 until the heads give.

 Oh, you do mean women.
 No harpsichords, it’s not hard
 to destroy a harpsichord.

 How about pianos?
 Well, certainly there have been
 those who battered pianos.

 Beethoven and Liszt?
 To name a few.
 The old piano battered by the Beatles
 coffee stains and cigarette burns and now untunable
 is valued at 150 thousand pounds.

 Well, it hasn’t been used since l980,
 and worse than being battered
 it has not been tuned or played.

 So an unused piano is worse off
 than a used woman?
 We are talking pianos, I believe,
 the modern piano,
 Despite the batterers and bangers
 she’s a tough instrument.

 I bet you hate those charity stunts
 when they bang a piano for fun.
 Happened to my sister.
 On the other hand Edith Steiner-Kraus
 saved herself with a battered piano.
 You remember, don’t you?

 No, sorry, I don’t.
 No. Well, when she arrived
 at Terezin she discovered her name
 was on the list for Auschwitz,
 but she began practicing
 on a legless piano and, offered
 to give a concert, thereby
 avoiding transportation.
 Fortunately, as Socrates recommended,
 she had several recitals worth
 of Bach and Schubert in her head.

 So art can save us?
 Pianos, no, but women, yes,
 if they know enough by heart.