(In D by Pachelbel)
Captivates brides with its
Conjures sighs, tears while fine
Cellists intone eight notes
Consistent with heartbeats . . .
Continuum leaves them
Comatose in its wake.
—Janet L. Pantoja, Woodinville, WA
—Janet L. Pantoja
Celestial, mellow voice that
Crowns melody, harmony,
Continuous bass line. It
Cheers the heart, soothes the soul—a
Companion in joy or grief.
Composed of wood, strings, bow—my
Cello . . . always sings for me.
I married at twenty-three and went to live
under a volcano in a tropical valley
and my precious cello traveled with me.
There in that tropical valley I bore two children.
I played then, not yet in my own quartet,
but a in a national symphony.
I next found a chair in a symphony
when I moved back to my own country to live.
Once I was there, I founded a string quartet
with three other women in the flat valley
of the Sacramento. There my two children
grew up and my cello sang brightly for me.
In Sacramento my cello sang for me
as I played in the Camellia Symphony.
I lived for my music then as my children
both went to college and then came back to live
for a while with me in my own valley
of the Sacramento. I played in the quartet
with Nina, Ellen, and Betty; the quartet
thrived and my cello sang happily for me,
and we all stayed together in the valley
of the Sacramento. I played in the symphony
and the quartet and we continued to live
here as time passed. Then both my children
married. My son was the first of my children
to marry and then my daughter next. My quartet
played at their weddings. They went on to live
near us as my cello, happy, sang for me.
I still played in the Camellia Symphony
until one day I left my home, my valley
and followed my daughter north to a green valley,
where a shadow fell over my children
and me. I sometimes play in the symphony.
I watch my grandchildren; and the old quartet,
in my thoughts and memories, is still with me
in this valley, the last in which I shall live.
I have a new quartet and a symphony;
My children are with me in this green valley
where I still live and my cello sings for me.
I am Janet. My cello sings for me.
We sang in Central America
Where I played in the National Symphony
And bore two children of the tropics
And still I sang o’er fecund
Jungles and beaches swept by trade winds.
In the flat valley of the Sacramento
Still I sang and played in the symphony.
My children grew with sweet rewards
And problems, pain and disappointment
But still I sang, my cello and I,
The music darker, but still I sang.
In the valley of the Sacramento still I sang.
My children married, first my son.
His wedding I arranged with all a mother’s hopes and
But still I sang and with three friends
Founded, formed and lead a quartet and
We, my cello and I, sang at weddings and anniversaries.
My daughter, my lovely daughter
Married and we sang at her wedding, my cello and I.
With Ellen, Betty and Nina we sang at her wedding.
And when she moved north
To the green valley of the Snoqualmie
Still I sang, my voice lonelier now.
Now, in the green valley of the Snoqualmie still I sing
With trio and symphony.
My daughter has children now, a son and twins
With these little ones I mind and play
But still I sing
Now, with a dark shadow lying over
My daughter and her children,
Still I sing, my cello and I, invincible.
Without music, life would be a mistake.
—Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Our thanks to Janet and her daughter, Jennifer, for today's offerings. We've been talking about the cello recently; Janet writes: I've been seeing several "cello" poems on M.K. lately. As a cellist, I cannot be silent! Janet also sent us two biographical poems (the first a very smooth sestina!) written for her by her friend, David Milnor, who has, unfortunately, passed away.