D. H. Lawrence‘s “Piano” nostalgically takes the speaker of the poem back to his childhood. The poem is written in first person with the speaker serving as the protagonist of the poem. Written in three quatrains, the poet couples lines for rhyming. The narrative lyrical poem portrays two time periods: the present and the childhood memory.
The beginning of the poem describes a lovely scene of dusk. There is a woman singing softly to the narrator. The scene takes him back to another time.
The narrator is a boy sitting under the piano while his mother plays the piano and sings. He remembers the sounds of the piano as booming along with the sounds of the piano strings. The mother’s small feet press the pedals and the boy touches her feet. She looks down and smiles at her son.
As a sophisticated man, he feels that his emotions betray him. The deceptive music seeps into his heart; he longs and cries for the time when he was a boy back with his family. He sees in his mind the Sunday nights at home during the winter. The room is cozy and the family sings, guided by the piano.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past
Returning to the present, the once soft song of the singer cannot compare with the sounds of his family singing together. The woman’s song now sounds like noise [clamor] even with the grand piano playing. It is useless for her to try to compete with his wonderful memories.
Those childhood memories appeal to him; consequently, he willingly puts aside his macho masculinity, and he gives into the nostalgic times. He weeps for the time and the boy he was. Nothing in the present will ever compare to his past.