“He Said Waltz with Me” by Angelle McDougall

Angelle McDougall


till the soft cloth 
hammers shatter
and no longer reach
the strings
till the metal pedals
wear down to nubs 
unable to dampen
the music rings
till the keys turn concave
with decades of use
and middle C warbles
instead of sings
waltz with me, darling
come waltz with me
until we are the last
two things

Prompt: “This was written in October 2022 while attending my local writers’ group. The group organizer gave a writing prompt by playing a few notes on an upright grand piano in the room. I took lessons throughout my childhood on a similar ancient piano. My family didn’t have a lot of money, and dad would often open up the piano front to make small repairs to the hammers when they broke. The prompt gave me visions of the interior workings of the instrument, and I envisioned a couple waltzing together until long after the piano disintegrated from age.”

from Rattle #81, Fall 2023
Tribute to Prompt Poems


Angelle McDougall: “Poetry prompts can be the best way to get my mind out of a rut and promote new thinking. Some of the best prompts have come from hearing a few notes played on an old piano, pulling a random card from a tarot deck, touching an unseen object in a dark velvet pouch, and being asked an intriguing question by a member of my local writers’ group. I love the feeling of catching a glimmer, a spark, triggered by a good prompt. It sets my imagination racing, and I have to write or type like mad to keep up. They don’t always result in completed work, but they always add excitement and ideas to build upon.” (web)

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