My Old Guitar

My Old Guitar

The battered old guitar I've played for fifty years
sits dustily in the corner, its harmonics muted,
no doubt still awaiting the arrival of a player
adept enough to release it from the monotony
of the same old three chord trick to which it's been subjected,
having drawn the short straw of being sold to me,
a mediocre musician with a semi-discordant ear,
who struggles to sound a note, often losing the key.

It's longing for a Django or, classically, a Williams
to release it from its torpor, condemned to the occasional strum;
to feel some finger picking, to take off on a flight
of rapacious arpeggios, an all consuming riff;
to find, at last, its voice, to feel, at last, its potential,
free from all constraint, to drift into its dream
of Hendrix, Page, Santana, who all have passed it by,
this Yamaha FG One Eighty, Red Label Nippon Gakki.

Strangely, it's become a collectors item I'm told,
sought after by the folk who think things can be owned.
Yet, despite my ineptitude, I couldn't let it go,
because it has become a symbol of something more
than just an instrument longing to be tuned.
It's something symbiotic I couldn't do without,
nor, I think, could it do without my love
of its mellow tone, the timbre of its veneer.

I have recently had it re-fretted and restored,
returned to the beauty of its former days.
The action has been lowered, effortlessly it plays
all those three chord tunes I struggle to recall.
And I have been inspired to honour its stoicism
by tending to its needs each ensuing day,
forgoing that neglect which I previously offered,
seeing it for itself; the core of my beating heart.
Categorized as Poems

By Arthur Richardson

Very part time poem maker. Retired from paid work.


  1. You built so brilliantly on the fundamental fear of any artist – that our tools of the trade could do more in more talented hands – while capturing the magic that even though other hands could wield them differently, they are our own. I love it.

    I’m building a Facebook page, “Found Online,” where I can link to poems I really enjoy for others to explore. This poem is one I chose to link to. Check out the page at:

    Liked by 1 person

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