Grenadilla Tone

Garnet’s poem for the 7th Poetry Carnival. I chose to focus on the sound I make on the clarinet, which is a building block of the music I make.

clarinet, grenadillaBlurted air flaps my reed
to rasp a sneeze across its paper
thin tip, a flag snapping in the wind.
Raw chunks of sound, churned butter
grows mellow with aged consistency,
evolving with me, my lips’ brother.

Together we strive to parse
and rhyme the flurry of shuffling cards
into the deep seated whine
of blurry turbine engine speed.
My gut blasts a gale of excellent force
urging thin veins of cane to squeak.

Balanced scales permit leaning back
like ice dancers who spin ’round
flying out while spiraling in place.
Gymnastic grace settles into my form
as I waltz with my reedy friend
through the halls of my horn.

Raw silk waves are then spun
down rare, black wood
into long, chewy strands of polished
taffy. Syrupy tone stretches along
the quiet inner ears of my listeners,
and sooths their drums with chocolate songs.

notes: Clarinet, bassoon and oboe reeds are made of cane from Arundo Donax, a bamboo like grass which grows naturally along the Mediterranean coast. But it is also an invasive plant in California and the Southwest US.

Clarinets are made from the wood of theGrenadilla, or African Blackwood tree. It is favored for its density, which produces a rich, deep sound. Unfortunately it is also extremely slow growing and has now become endangered.

Wind players often refer to their instruments as “horns”.

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