A Case of the Green Envies
By Latayne C. Scott
As we begin to think about a new year, and new beginnings, I want to share with you the poem that won me a scholarship to college. Now, years later, it seems, so, youthful. It was written when I was 16 years old, and although I normally don't publicly explain any poems (they should stand on their own, I believe), I will this one.
My mother was a professional musician, and at the time of the writing of the poem, I was dating a young man who played over a dozen musical instruments. Though I love music (and even took clarinet lessons and singing lessons for a while), I am tuneless, toneless, and incompetent in every sense of the word as it pertains to music. Yet as I sat watching my mother and my boyfriend playing one song after another on our piano, I knew that was a world I would never share.
I would never and can never produce music. But my soul yearns for it. In my mind, I can produce melody. It just never comes out. I hear it echoed and perfected in the music of others, and I deeply love it.
I have the feeling that a lot of people feel this way. They yearn to express some of the deepest and purest emotions within them, but simply cannot --no more than I can reproduce any of the music I feel within me.
But envy isn’t all bad. It’s wrong, just wrong, to be jealous of someone’s possessions. But what can bring true insight is an appreciation for what it took for that person to own what they own. In the case of something like a great musical performance, I am filled with awe. I know I would never be willing to put in the multiplied thousands of hours of lonely practice to achieve what has become effortless for a virtuoso.
In the case of watching my mother and my boyfriend, that envy prodded me to develop my own gifts.
God has given everyone an ability of some sort. The true eternal value of all gifts, though is how they can bless the lives of others – make their mortal path easier or more pleasant.
What’s yours? Do you bless the lives of others with it?
I watch his fingers
Teasing the piano
As he caresses the ivory teeth
Harder now – he strikes
A glancing blow off the black fang
An answering roar
just because my soul is not in
my fingertips does not
mean I do not have
- Copyright Latayne C. Scott
Meet the Author
Latayne C. Scott is the author of over 2 dozen published books and hundreds of magazine articles. Her latest books are A Conspiracy of Breath (TSU Press, 2017), The Parables of Jesus (TSU Press, 2017), and as a contributor to Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Minds (Kregel, 2017.)
You can read Latayne's column on the 4th Friday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.