Listen. The colors of the notes are wrong.
Where is the perfection of sapphire-chords
that I am due? Cornflower doesn’t belong
here, plotting the composition’s borders.
Master music has all fingers contorting
to fit themselves into the metronome’s tock
and these tight strings have badly distorted
my repertoire. I’ve lost both key and lock
in a palette of sorrow that canvasses pain.
Oh, the cavernous range of a rhapsody
releases those scales of anguish again
until I am concert and concert is me.
Dissonance and harmony do not combine,
Still, under eye sockets black and blue shines.
About this Poem
This modern sonnet is inspired by both Picasso's The Old Guitarist and pianist David Helgott's struggle with mental illness.
The movie Shine is based on Helgott's life, though one sister disputes that their father ever abused David. David had a breakdown while practicing Rachmaninoff's 3rd Concerto, a highly difficult piece. He received electric shock therapy.
Picasso's blue period is said to be the result of his poor standard of living at the time and the suicide of a dear friend. The old guitarist shows a bone thin blind man hunched over his guitar, as though boxed in by the canvas.