The Harper: Sweet Sounds?

Posted by Eric Azumi on

The Harper


Master of discords John
          Makes harmony seem wrong
His treble sings to his bass
          Like a sow consoling her young.


If he played with his shoulder blades
          He'd make a pleasanter tune;
He reaches out for a chord
          As a dog snaps at a bone.  


Playing away to himself
         Nobody knows what tune,
Even the man who made it   
         Cannot recall his own.  


A wonder the way he works
         He never keeps tune or time;
With skill and care he goes wrong
         Mountains of errors climb.
Give him the simplest catch
        And once you're in at the kill;
He mangles it patiently
         Like an old loud derelict mill.  


Copper scratched with a knife
         Brass cut with a rasp
His nails scrape at the strings
         Till all shudder and gasp.  


God help you gentle harp.
         Pounded and played by his fist.
There isn't a chord in your breast.
         Without a sprain or a twist..

         Translated from the Gaelic * Author unknown

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