Can anyone  paraphrase "Piano", a poem by D.H Lawrence?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator of this poem is listening to a woman singing while she plays the piano, except that he's not really listening to the music happening around him. Instead, he's listening to the music in his memory, which is taking him back to his childhood and the time he enjoyed sitting under the piano while his mother sang and played. In the first stanza, he describes himself as

A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In the second stanza, the narrator confesses that the song being sung in the present is transporting him, in sorrowful memory since his mother is no longer living, "back...To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside And hymns in the cosy parlour."

The third and final stanza is the narrator's giving himself over to his mourning for days gone by. The "great black piano appassionato" and melodic singing of the woman in the room with him is unnoticed and unappreciated. The narrator is overcome with memories of his childhood and he can only "weep like a child for the past."

A brief paraphrase of the poem could simply read: I hear the singing and the piano music, but all it does is remind me of the times I spent sitting under the piano while my mother played and sang. How I miss those wonderful nights of warmth and security and loving music at home. The singer's beautiful voice and wonderful piano playing is wasted - I am lost in my memories. How sad that I can never return to that time.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A paraphrase of this poem is that the narrator is listening to a woman singing at dusk when he is pulled into thinking about his childhood. The piano is a symbol of his childhood, and he recalls himself sitting under the piano listening to the sounds of the strings and pressing his mother's feet as she sang. Against his will, the song brings him back to his childhood and to cozy Sunday nights when he sang hymns and listened to the piano in his home. Even if the singer he is currently listening to burst into "clamor," the narrator is lost in remembrances of his childhood and cannot be brought to think about the present. He cries for the past. The poem is about the strong pull of childhood memory. The narrator longs for the past, when, perhaps, life was simpler--as simple as the black and white keys on the piano.