Friday, October 22, 2010

Poetry Friday: All the Broken Pieces

All The Broken PiecesAll The Broken Pieces Ann E. Burg

My fingers stumble
through the scales
and through
"The Gypsy Camp."

They crowd the keys,
landing in two spots
at the same time.
They slip, clank, and clash
into sounds
that aren't music.

Watch, Jeff says calmly
when my fingers freeze
in frustration.

Jeff's fingers are
bigger than mine,
but they know how
to touch each key,
one at a time.
They unlock each sound

Jeff doesn't make mistakes.

His fingers brush
across the piano keys
like branches
of the tamarind
swaying in the wind.
How can such big hands
make such quiet music?

Matt is the son of a Vietnamese mother and the American soldier who left and didn't come back. He was airlifted out of Saigon without his mother or brother and adopted by an American family.

In his experiences on his baseball team, where a teammate blames Matt for a brother's death, and in working with a Veterans group, Matt comes to face the life he lived before and now only lives in his nightmares.

I've often talked about how I feel many verse novels could be written in short paragraphs and that's true here, but the sparsity of the text because of the verse format helps show Matt's isolation and confusion.

Round up is over at A Wrung Sponge!

Book Provided by... my local library

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Amy L V said...

"His fingers brush
across the piano keys
like branches
of the tamarind
swaying in the wind."
Sigh. This is one for me to check out from our library too. Thank you for posting it today. A.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

How sweet to show the gentleness of an older male teaching a younger one in the arts. I've begun to look for adoption stories for nov. and this one looks like something I should follow up on! thanks for posting.

Serena said...

I really like the clumsiness and resentment in the poem...

Thanks for sharing it.

laurasalas said...

I agree about verse novels--though I think they just need a new name! I love the good ones, but agree they aren't poetry. I think they're a whole new form.

Anyway, this is beautiful. I'm off to put it on reserve at my library right now. Thanks for sharing it!

Strummed Words said...

My wish is to write a verse novel! You can be a bit obscure, ambiguous, colorful and poetic and tell a story at the same time! This one sounds easy for children to read.