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The Old Piano

From The Sun, January 10, 1915. By H. S. Haskins.

And now, at last, you’ve got to go,
    I’ve come to say good-by.
Forgive an old man’s weakness and
    The tears which fill my eyes.
For five-and-twenty years I’ve played
    Upon your friendly keys,
Which, yellowed ‘neath their tuneful tasks
    Are rich in memories.
My little children, all of them,
    Have learned to play on you;
One key was cracked by Johnny’s tooth,
    One scratched by Baby Sue.
And one note never has regained
    Its old sonorous tone
Since Tom, to stop his “practice,” went
    And hit it with a stone.
I lift your lid, the rusty strings
    With ghostly echoes start
To quiver with the long farewell
    That’s bursting from my heart.
Your sounding board, melodic in
    The long, long yesterday,
Vibrates with Tosti’s sweet “Good Night”
    My wife so loved to play.
Like sad handshake a final chord
    Is lovingly caressed.
May your career now ended be,
    And this your last long rest!
I cannot bear the thought of you
    By fond use made divine,
Responding to the ruthless touch
    Of other hands than mine;
I cannot think of cheap dance hall,
    All smoke and heat and beer,
With drunken fingers banging at
    The keys I hold so dear;
But rather may you stand, forgot,
    So harmonies may fill
The twilight of your life, safe in
    A warehouse, cool and still.

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