Singing Steel Strings

Joe Merkle
3 min readJul 26, 2022

Submitting for The Lark’s poetry competition

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

My fingers dance, prance

To melodies birthed from a heavenly jazzman

Notes newborn, airborne

From calloused fingers worn

By the years of sliding, gliding

Across singing steel strings

Ego evaporates, my mind misplaced

I’m lost in space

Each new note is a surprise

An exclamation point in a child’s eyes

I no longer occupy space and time

No reason, no rhyme

Still, the notes float

Free forming, unbound, they gloat

Begging for an ear to hear

Uncertain what will next appear

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash


Each note experimenting

At the urging of a spark from soul

To tell a story yet untold

Bodiless, I soar

Searching for the perfect score

The one misplaced chord

Yet unexplored

Spiritual ascension turns to descension

My fingers no longer soul’s extension

I return from a higher dimension

The welcome victim of spiritual intervention

© Joe Merkle 2022 All rights reserved

This poem was inspired by Denise Larkin and this poetry competition in The Lark. Thank you Denise for this timely competition. I desperately needed a push to get back to writing again.

Since my wife’s death fourteen months ago my guitars have meant more to me than at any time over the last 57 years I have been playing. Moments just like the one described in this poem help me rise above the sense of loss to share in a higher state of consciousness. Even if it is just for moments.

The challenge goes out to some friends I have been ignoring for too long. I…

Joe Merkle

I write about love, life, loss, kindness, and gratitude. Toss in some fiction and humor and you have the meanderings of a multifarious writer.