A Poem by Sue Chenette. Art by Cathy Daley

A piano in the camp dining room

The windows, behind me – I could look
over my left shoulder – holding
wide blue glint of lake, canoes,
a sailboard. Rattle of cutlery as
camp staff readied lunch, and beyond
the parade grounds, the flag pole and
tether balls, the muted blare of the junior band
                     On my music rack, my part
for a piece to be played on the evening’s concert,
scored for piano and brass quintet. In manuscript:
the inked chords resisting quick comprehension, each
passage needing repetition, slow to fast.
                                                                          The day
was cloud and sky and waves, tomatoes and dahlias out along
the neighboring cottage road, while I sat balked,
mind wooden as the old upright.
                                                                There must
have been fear, too, the need to get it right
and could I? But what I felt
was heavy, my plodding course as
the day whispered minutes and hours
in which I might have done anything else,
anything, and then – it might have come
with the repetitions, they might
have tranced the mind to let the thought
emerge, that I had chosen this, this was
what I had chosen, this music, playing,
and this, simply
was required

Sue Chenette, a classical pianist as well as a poet, grew up in northern Wisconsin and has made her home in Toronto since 1972. She is an editor for Brick Books, and the author of Slender Human Weight (Guernica Editions, 2009), The Bones of His Being (Guernica Editions, 2012), Clavier, Paris, Alyssum (Aeolus House, 2020), and the documentary poem What We Said (Motes Books, 2019), based on her time as a social worker in Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Cathy Daley (1955-2022) was a Canadian visual artist whose work continues to be shown and collected internationally.  Her work is in many public and private institutions incl., The National Gallery of Canada, Ontario Gallery of Art, The Canadian Art Bank, and numerous private collections. At the time of her death, she was a Professor Emerita at OCADU (Toronto), where she taught drawing and painting for more than 25 years.  Her work is represented by New Zones Gallery, Calgary, Alberta.

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