Frank has been writing poetry and prose for many years, with several novels in his drawer. He plays violin and viola in several ensembles around Edinburgh, in The Whole Shebang, in Holm, and in the St Andrew Orchestra. He is the music facilitator for Shore Poets.
An old violin lies in a new case,
damaged purfling dull in the red velvet protection,
head and pegbox squint,
scroll clumsy, and f-holes far from symmetrical;
with the waisted belly brown and ribs scored,
and the back stained from the sweaty grip on its shoulder,
its stiff neck glued to the body by hundred year old hands
made in Markneukirchen.
Ah but its old sound, like a voice.
Not pure, but howling and sighing. Unmuted,
with bow noise and occasional wolfs
and the players grunt.
Mollycoddled in its new case, Pirastro strung and Hills polished,
the old rosin scraped from the strings
and the fingerboard touched with time;
bashed varnish engrained with dead skin and humours;
and the sticking pegs resisting the force of concert pitch.
Old with strings digging into the bridge, their bindings becoming loose,
but tuned to an unbeautiful sound.
Nameless and without label, its old voice,
past and preserved, sings through the moment
with the bassbar below resonating with the timbres of old pain.
All this, despite its new case.