Years ago I attended a Roberta Flack concert in Roanoke, where she sang with the Roanoke Symphony. I wrote a poem about the experience.
I was an adult when I went to the concert, but I remembered hearing some of her music for the first time as a teenager, especially the song “Killing Me Softly.”
At a Roberta Flack Concert
By Tina Fariss Barbour
Let me set the scene:
You come around the edge of the symphony
and lift up your arms,
lift and wave the black and white
billows of your sleeves
moving them like ruffled wings
before you sit at the baby grand,
raise your face to the lavender lights.
You sing “Killing Me Softly.”
There’s this thing about me and music.
I occupy the song. It’s mine.
I wrote it. It’s the story of my life.
I’m singing it now just as surely as you are down on stage
while I’m listening far above in the bleachers
near the top, high above almost everyone,
ready for my flight, my leap out
over their heads, dipping down like
a mockingbird dips to listen.
Then I soar again out of reach
of hands that would grab me and
pull me to my seat,
my program rolled in my hand
tapping slowly in time,
keep me in the seat so I won’t leap
again to the young girl who wonders how words can hurt,
how the words of a song can reveal like a lavender spotlight,
reveal this young girl of fifteen
crooning softly with the radio
turned down so low so
no one can hear.
Have you ever felt like a song was written for you? Are there any songs that take you back to another time?