Euterpe, the Muse of Music by Egide Gottfried Guffens (1823 - 1901)

Euterpe’s divine double-flute
Emitted a trill so acute,
I’d known from the day
I first heard it play,
That music would be my pursuit.

From grade school through college’s start,
Just one goal ignited my heart:
To pay my just dues
And honor my muse
By steadfastly honing my art.

Collegiate conductors all deemed
My scherzos and scales most esteemed.
With confident flair,
I won flute first chair —
How near virtuosity seemed!

But ardor for metrical beats
Imprinted on notated sheets
Soon morphed from delight
To rivalrous spite —
I toiled just to join the elites.

Euterpe’s twin flutes ceased to lilt —
And when their song waned, I felt guilt.
My passion then fled,
And with it, each shred
Of selfhood I ever had built.
I roved twenty years without aim,
But finally conquered self-blame.
I set my sights high,
And chose to apply
To graduate schools of acclaim.
My writing degree nearly done,
I sought an elective for fun.
I doubted I’d pass
A poetry class
But quelled each self-doubt that I’d spun.

My poetry lecturer’s zeal
For meter and rhyme stoked appeal.
In each line conferred
With tempo, I heard
Euterpe’s voice clearly reveal:

“Though flautists rely on my cues
To render the rhythms they choose—
I also inspire
The verse you admire —
I’m music and poetry’s muse.”
I’ve fervently come to embrace
Poetic form’s rigorous grace.
For joy — never gain—
I craft each refrain,
Fulfilling that long-empty space.

Mindy Watson

If you have any thoughts on this poem,  Mindy Watson  would be pleased to hear them.