Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.


I listened to Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman.

I liked the keys’ silver superstructure,

and the ebony stick with its subtle bell,

and its tones – mellow, lustrous, shrill, caressing.

So, to and from school, I chose to pass

a second-hand shop with a clarinet

on display in its eclectic window.

I saved for a year. ‘No,’ said the man. Next day

it was gone from the display forever.


My daughter took up the instrument

unprompted. Her daughter has followed.

I like to think that an ancestor of ours

was clarinettist in a klezmer band

with a cymbalist and a violinist,

in Bialystok, Lvov, or Kishinev,

walking and playing from shetl to shetl,

marking life’s circle of weddings

and funerals with that joyous music –

before the world was set on fire.




© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Ashen Venema
    August 28, 2020

    This chimes.
    Seems our desires, and those of our ancestors, desires that seek further realisation, are not easily distracted by missed moments in time.
    I remember the disappointment of obstructed desires, like your hope for the clarinet.
    Lovely that the joyous music has returned to your family.

  • John Huddart
    September 1, 2020

    Marvellous. There was a story that circulated that you were a phenomenal keyboard player, when you were sufficiently inspired by the occasion. I’m sure it was the much missed Ron Durdey who told me this, though I was never privileged to see myself. Perhaps there is a poem in the musical seizures that are inspired by grape or grain.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *