The Music Box

When I was only seventeen,
I had my first romance.
I fell seriously in love,
At the High School Harvest Dance.

Johnny was a college man,
He was in his freshman year.
He wore a cashmere sports coat,
And was very debonair.

I felt so proud when we walked in,
All eyes had turned our way.
The corsage he had pinned on me,
I later pressed and put away.

The first and final dance,
Were both Vienna waltzes.
Played gently by the Harvest Band,
As if out of music-boxes.

Together we danced every dance,
There was not a one we missed.
And when Johnny later took me home,
At the front door, we stood and kissed.

Then Johnny led me in a waltz,
Across that cold front porch.
He hummed music in three-quarter time,
As we held each other for support.

Our love bloomed throughout that winter,
And blossomed fully in the spring.
When I graduated high school,
I was wearing Johnny's ring.

Selective Service then called Johnny,
A small war was going on.
They said he was in A-one shape,
They shipped him out to Viet Nam.

Fate has a way of stepping in,
And Johnny disappeared.
The whole town wept in mourning,
And I, too, shed bitter tears.

With broken heart, I carried on,
What choice did I have?
I still cried and ached for him,
But time was a healing salve.

And, as the months rolled by,
And spring stretched on into fall.
It was on the second anniversary,
Of the High School Harvest Ball.

That a package was delivered,
Which was dirty, mussed, and torn.
Together with a "Sorry" note,
On the usual postal form.

I trembled as I opened it,
I recognized his hand.
The inner wrappings were secure,
So the contents were as planned.

First I heard a magic sound,
As I removed the object from its box.
And then what did my eyes behold,
But a dainty music-box.

Its bone china base, hand-painted,
With baby roses and green leaves.
And the music it was playing,
Was a waltz - pure Viennese.

A tiny female figure,
In a ballerina dress.
Turned in circles on its top,
In utter charming ness.

"La la la la la - la la, la la,"
The music-box played for me.
"La la la la la - la la la la,"
The dancer danced for me to see.

I hugged the tiny music-box,
And wiped away a tear.
Sweet Johnny's final gift to me,
At last had made it here.

I placed it on my bedside table,
And at night before I'd sleep.
I'd watch the ballerina dance,
And she often made me weep.

Well, the years went on; I married,
A man near Johnny's ilk.
But I always kept his music-box,
In a container lined with silk.

One of the things my daughter liked,
When she was very young.
Was for me to take down Johnny's box,
Wind it up and let it run.

And if she had trouble sleeping,
I would place the box beside her bed.
Then she would nod off sweetly,
With its gentle music in her head.

"La la la la la - la la la la,"
Sometimes I'd stand there and I'd watch,
"La la la la la - la la la la."
As she fell asleep to Johnny's box.

And my thoughts would then go back in time,
To that High School Harvest Dance.
And that final waltz on that cold front porch.
And a young girl's first romance.

Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
copyright 2000

 

 
 

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The Midi is © David Folsom
and used with his permission.