A painting can inspire a writer to paint with words. This “word painting” could be a poem, a piece of flash fiction, a short story, or perhaps even a novella or novel. A painting by artist Marlis Gray brought about this piece of flash fiction of approximately 350 words.
Chopin’s Conversation with a Harp
Chopin enters his music salon, mulling a motif. He strolls to his beloved grand. He deigns to play no other instrument/neither string nor woodwind nor brass nor other percussion. Only the piano and only his master crafted Pleyel grand. It responds to his touch, his emotions, his musical poesy.
With a note progression settling in his mind, he walks by the golden harp in place for the evening’s salon and sits before the piano keyboard. As he prepares to settle his fingers upon the keys, a female voice breaks the silence.
“Maestro Chopin, please play me. One of your creations would be so beautiful coming from my strings.”
Chopin looks about, sees no one, and resumes his intent.
“Oh, Maestro Chopin, please play me.”
“Who is speaking?” he asks. “I have no time for foolishness.”
Curious, he walks about the room to see from where this woman’s voice emanates. But no one lurks behind the arches or colonnades. Chopin coughs, then coughs again. He wonders, Is this yet another hallucination? Have I taken too much laudanum to gain comfort from my coughing disease?
“It is I speaking, the golden harp.”
“How can that be so?” Chopin, mystified, eases toward the harp. He runs his palm along its crown, down to its shoulder. He notes the tuning pins, examines the soundboard, sees the placement of the pedal. He touches the strings.
“Although I know you play no other instrument,” the harp pleads, “please try me.”
Bemused, Chopin pushes the piano bench into position by the harp, sits, tilts the body of the harp between his legs and rests its shoulder on his.
“This is all very intriguing,” he says, “but how can I play a harp? I don’t know how. Nor do I wish to learn. The piano emotes under my touch. I am the piano’s poet.”
“Ease your fingers onto my strings. I will do the rest.”
Chopin does so. His fingers begin to move. At first startled, he realizes he is playing his yet unwritten composition. The harp sings his newest etude. He is enraptured.