People, Personal, Poetry Friday

I find my old Doc Watson record

Thurlow plays banjo at the launch of A Trail of Light (Photo © 2010 by Shelley Haggard)

I find my old Doc Watson record

Who would believe
a plain black disk could hold
such Shady Grove secrets
or a needle
on the end of a robot arm
could tickle
from a spiral of ridges
guitars, banjoes, fiddles
reeling around the room
hoboes harmonizing
jailhouse rhythms
and a mountain man
who fills the house
with lament
for the lapse of his lady?

© 2012 by Violet Nesdoly


I have been involved, over the past few months, in co-editing a poetry anthology for a local poetry society of which I’m a member. This has been an educational and enjoyable experience.

In the book we’re featuring the poems of our oldest member who will be turning 100 this November. In addition to his poems, we have a section of tribute poems and member poems.

Our almost-centenarian poet Thurlow Gowan was an avid square dancer for years. He also played numerous musical instruments. Two years ago he, along with two other male members of our club, published an anthology. The photo is of him playing his banjo at the the launch of that book,  A Trail of Light.

Because I know of his love for music, one of the poems I submitted for my section of our in-progress collection is today’s poem, “I find my old Doc Watson record.” It came out of an experience a year or two ago, when my sister got a mandolin and was jamming along with any playable tunes she could find. I searched for and found my old Doc Watson record (yes it is vinyl), played it that night, and the poem is one of the results. (The blind guitar player Doc Watson died at the end of May this year. He was 89.)



This poem is submitted to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Jone at Check it Out.

14 thoughts on “I find my old Doc Watson record”

  1. Hi Violet. I love the idea of putting a book together for that special musician in your community. The poem is a tribute both to the poet and the music from those old vinyls. I have a few myself! And, FYI, my post for this Friday is a little tribute to you and your extended haiku poem “Lightning”. I’ve been trying the structure, and finally have one I think is worthy of sharing. It was quite a challenge, Violet!


    1. Love the picture, the poem, the story behind it all. Someday I hope to be 100 and part of a poetry group and still working on publishing and performing.


  2. This is really beautiful, Violet, and such a great exercise to write to music. One of the most surprising things I ever wrote was a poem composed in ten minutes while listening to Charlie Parker — it just flowed out so easily, with just the right rhythm and rhyme, like he was writing it himself. I need to dig that up! Thanks for the inspiration.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.