It's hard when young
to understand the sheet
music of life. Bundles of eager nerves
allow us to compose and play
symphonies of passion
with long rhapsodic movements,
Opus One and beyond.

My aging father told me
he would rather listen
than perform.
He liked music to lull him to sleep,
not arouse him by its stirring strains—
his libido had become pianissimo.

I didn't want to be told
that the music fades,
that the hormonal themes of youth,
with their
presto tempos
and encores
would be replaced
by a role as supernumerary.
Was it like a pianist foiled by arthritis,
or would the will leave with the skill?

Decades later, I am a senior.
My concerts are less frequent,
but I better understand
the internal fugue. The music
moves at an adagio tempo.
Hormones that once played key
instruments now sit idly
on the sidelines, sometimes ignoring
the conductor's baton.

I've found new music to score,
                    riffs and flourishes
                              to explore.
Improvisations replace
well-known tunes with different
                                                  longer overtures.
And, as for all good
musicians, it's practice, practice, practice.

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