Saturday, September 8, 2012

An offering of a poem

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?


  1. I am always amazed at your ability to write! Great poem.

    When my hubby and I were dating, the Chicago song, 'You're the Inspiration" was all the rage. We ended up using it as our first dance song at our wedding. Every time I hear that song it brings me back. Also, (I'm so embarrassed to admit this!), the Madonna song, "Crazy for You" was really big when I first started dating my hubby. I hear that song and I'm 18 all over again just daydreaming about my then boyfriend.

    1. I remember both of those songs. And now "Crazy For You" is stuck in my head! :-)

  2. Superb!! Thank you for sharing your words!! There are certain sounds or smells that always evoke images and feelings from the past. Our five senses, sometimes taken for granted, are very powerful!

    1. Thank you! I agree-it's easy to take our senses for granted.

  3. Oh this is so good. Very nice poem!

  4. Hi tina, this is so lovely. I would have to say that one of the songs that make me feel like it was written for me when I listen to it is " it's amazing " by Aerosmith. Of course, that is one of many.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience so elequently through this poem.


    1. Thank you, Madison, and thank you for sharing a song!

  5. You are so talented!! Thank you for sharing this poem and moment with us. Music speaks to us in ways no other medium can. You captured it beautifully.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Becky! I appreciate it. Music is truly powerful.

  6. Lovely poem Tina, felt I was right there listening at the concert, I liked that song to.

  7. Tina you are so talented! I love this poem. I could "see" the whole concert and funny, I was flying right beside you. Did you see me?

    Music: In 1976, rock group Boston debuted with "More Than A Feeling." A few months earlier, my best friend had been killed while riding her bike to my house. The song will always remind me of her and how she "slipped away..." Her favorite song was Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." While writing my memoir I listened to these songs over and over again and they brought back all of the emotions. Music is magical in that way.

    In 1974, my sister had The Stylistics, Round 2 album. There was a song on it called "Children of the Night." It still haunts me all these years later.

    I was TOTALLY in to music during my teen years. It wasn't the Top 40 songs that mainly appealed to me though. It was the lesser-known filler songs I liked. I thought I was really something, me the budding intellectual. :)

    Great post!!!

    1. Grace, you are so encouraging to me, and I appreciate it so much!

      I remember the song "More than a feeling." I have songs like that, too, that take me right back to the time I first listened to them. I need to listen to music more than I do while I write my memoir. It really does bring back memories and, as you say, the emotions.


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