It’s a rare and welcomed thing when you read or see or experience something that inspires you to act. We are inundated with images, stories and views every day but it’s not often that many of us are moved to act upon any given source.
Last year the Fernie Museum did an exhibit based on the life and times of Emilio Picariello. Many people saw the exhibit and participated in the programs put on in conjunction with the show. But one long time Fernie resident, who had a bit more of a connection to the Picariello story, was inspired to write a poem.
Mary Menduk, who many know in the community as an ardent supporter of arts and culture in Fernie, actually had in her possession for years a mandolin belonging to Emilio Picariello. Being a mandolin player it came to her to play through the Picariello family and she has since returned it to the descendants of Picariello.
She was inspired by the memories and the story presented in the museum’s exhibit and here is her poem – Picariello’s Mandolin.
Picariello’s mandolin waits
on the dark shelf
of the closet
a bellied instrument
bands of dark wood
cradle and send the melody
I take it down and play
rough dried by time
spaces in the glue
new strings live on an old body
holding the memory of his fingers
playing the music
when with family
he removed his armour
and took pleasure in little things
he played the mandolin
no smell of smuggling
liquor or musty cars
hands that sealed a secret contract
opened hearts to traditional songs
my fingers slide along the neck
I pluck and strum the strings
almost forgiving him
could he be a villain?