Ruth Heinold: Choose Your Songs With Care
Southern Legitimacy Statement: Although I was born in Cincinnati, the South has been home since 1961. I’d be 100 years old this April and this poem is published in the spirit of my work left behind for my daughter to find.
Choose Your Songs with Care
In 1929, when Grandmother Catherine died,
I went to the Baldwin baby grand
and played In the Sweet Bye and Bye
Mother said, “Never play that song again.
That was my Poppa’s song.”
I didn’t know that.
In 1939, at Grandma Ruth’s house
I play softly, Away in the Manger
They all said, “Never play that again.
That was Dick’s song”
I didn’t know that either.
Before we buried John that terrible day,
I sat down and played Charlie Chaplin’s Smile
Annie said, “I never want to hear that again.”
But it really was John’s song.
Near the very end, Bob said,
“You know, I think that “Bring On the Clowns”
is my song.
But I didn’t play it. Ever ever again.
Now I don’t play the piano at all.