The waltz we were born for

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The waltz we were born for

The waltz we were born for


2018, Knara Agasaryan; Elyse Black; Magdalena Brzezinska; Carmen Camilleri; Habiba Chouchen; Patricia Emilien; Jim Fleckenstein; Jose Garrido; Judith Gutlerner; Rob Howard; Yulia Ivanova; Agnieszka Jankiewicz; Anthony Kolasny; Agneta M Lindh; Soledad Afra Martinez; Gudny Sigridur Olafsdottir; Vicky Papageorgiou; Ola Porebska; Sonia Roychowdhury; Maria Laura Scasso; Jean Sciberras; Arevhat Simonyants; Małgorzata Starzyńska; Zita Toth; Samar Tulba; Natasha Vanderlinden 
 No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher. ©

Cover Art by Yulia Ivanova


Illustrations (unless otherwise specified): Magdalena Brzezinska The clarinet: public domain; attribution not required

Poznan, Poland

1.12. 2018


This is our fifth volume; the most musical one. The title of the collection, which was also our theme, was borrowed from Walt McDonald. It was wonderful to see how varied the responses were. There was even a piece of music! There seems that we all are, indeed, born to a waltz (or a tango, or a bolero, or a rock opera) incessantly humming in the background of our lives. Inevitably, music also brought to many minds one of the most primordial sounds: the murmur and burbling of the sea; the crashing of waves. Once again, participants from all the inhabited continents and walks of life gathered to share and collaborate, and hopefully make the world a more peaceful and harmonious place - through their art and writing. Once again, they are proving that all of us are creators and artists, art has no limits, and we are capable of amazing synergy, like pieces of a universal puzzle: our races, religions and nationalities complement each other and create a whole greater than a sum of its parts.

Magdalena Brzezinska

Jose Garrido, Argentina 

Out of Tune A poem, no poem… No rhythm, no music… Only the street, Noisy, careless, worried, musicless Completely out of tune. And I wonder One poem, no poem…? No tune, no key, no tone A poem with no rhythm A song without a key No music, no rhythm, no tune… Only… The gurgling of the fridge The tapping of a leak The choking of an engine The humming of the street Erratic, Whimsical, Selfish, No tune, no key, no tone, And I wonder One life, a life…? Only… The madness of a belljar The silliness of a soul A sunshine with no planet A rose without a prince Only… The ephemeral present Hope Waltz? Tune, key, tone… My waltz – your waltz. María Laura Scasso Pilar, Argentina September 2018

My Somnambulant Sonata Morning sunlight dappled on your face Plays like a nameless piano sonata I know It stirs my fingers to dance and trace The changing color and shapes I admire. My heart is dazed and impressionable It draws near to you as the crashing sea to the shore And finds you drift to me - movable Like sand you give form but are impermanent. The sunlight changes and you awake To smile and grant us this new day My hunger for your affection to wholly slake And my somnambulant sonata to amplify. Changing light and form cannot silence this song No, I am in love with you more each new morning. - For My Husband

Elyse Black, USA

Gudny Sigridur Olafsdottir, Iceland 

The waltz we were born for Standing under the tree, looking at the leaves waltzing around me, whirling down to my feet, I try to reconcile my contradictory feelings. I feel tired, as the tree which lost all its leaves, I lost my energy and expectations, those that I had at the beginning of the year. The year is coming to an end, so little time for dreams and wishes, little time for accomplishing something meaningful. It's almost for a quarter of a century that I don't believe that the best things happen at the New Year’s eve. My soul is standing near the back wall of my body and looking sadly around, as a shy girl who came to the ballroom and didn’t hear the music for dancing. In the course of year, the soul waits for her turn. She observes how the mind works, the mind gets angry, the mind rejoices… not all the things that can make the mind glad can turn on the music for the soul to dance. When I have a new idea, my soul starts clapping hands, feeling that soon there will be music. I love to be carried away with a new idea, I feel happy when I get an opportunity and enough courage to realize it. That’s time when my soul feels satisfied. When I carry out some of my creative plans, the music starts playing, and, moving softly, my soul starts waltzing. The dance continues from the moment of creation till the moment when the music gets lower. The soul goes back to a shadowy corner of my body, and the mind starts its everyday work. And now, standing under the whirling leaves, I feel as if they are my days, those days that passed with mind working, heart beating, organs functioning, but the soul being just a spectator. And now, standing under the waltzing leaves, I want to dance.

Knara Agasaryan, Uzbekistan

Vicky Papageorgiou, Greece

Dear ‘Sige’ Can I talk to you, silence? Better than talking to another

Dear ‘sige’, I remain within your enclosure and in it I feel safe No pain when in you

Floating in you I feel free Your gentle whisper against all cacophony

Silence, you are a noise My noise, beneath words

Behind words you are I am the hollow place inside which you reverberate

Your deafening sound releases me.

In your arms, ‘sige’, In your arms, until we are one

Vicky Papageorgiou, Greece

*’Sige’ means silence in ancient and modern Greek

Photo by Agneta M Lindh, Sweden

The Sensations of Every Step Not the one I accepted Not the one I declined Not the one I pined for longed for heart aching Not the one I took in need to replace. Not the one you offered Not the one everybody saw feet fluttering never touching ground but the one I cannot grasp dancing with the moments movements [no] not to be grasped grabbed just to be waltzed in the kitchen over the living room floor to your own rhythm - my rhythm Not the one I accepted [seemingly] Not the one I declined [rightfully] pined for took or was offered [misguided] [proud] [lukewarm] Not at an even pace [counting] Da Capo Da Capo [getting nowhere] But the one I waltz whirl [instinctively] [passionately] dancing with the moments movements every turn every beat until I feel the sensations of every step until I feel LIFE

Agneta M Lindh, Sweden

Agnieszka Jankiewicz, Poland

with a thud of a broken trunk the nut leaf is falling

Agnieszka Jankiewicz, Poland 

Jim Fleckenstein, USA

It’s Our Life To Enhance

Life comes and goes quickly, in coordinated stages From the helplessness of our youth to the struggles of old ages We meander on through it, accepting those rhythms produced
 As if reading a book, filled with empty lined pages 
 Entering as infants we listen, we follow, we learn As teens we rebel, we struggle, we yearn Ultimately able to stretch out, counting out 1-2-3 Following those dreams that deep inside burn 
 Life’s barriers result in our true desires deflection
 Dealing with sadness, with struggles and tears of dejection Like Maslov we choose basic needs over fulfillment Suppressing hope, rising and falling in our own retrospection 
 Like all humankind we struggle with passion, Our time so limited that we are forced to ration it
 So we step and slide, smoothly glide, body swaying Landing softly on our feet in an orchestrated fashion 
 Creativity gives meaning, is love, a yen for contentment Offering vigor to move others in ways that augment In 3/4 time towards the life I was born for A true passion to enrich, life's bonds to cement 
 We all are provided by life, but one stunning chance To sway as we like, to bow as we dance The choices we make, are ours all alone
 Gracefully living those movements, it’s our life to enhance

Jim Fleckenstein, USA

Part I Once upon a time there was a mouselet named Ollie. She loved music, and her momma cultivated that love by taking little Ollie to classical music concerts and operas. Ollie sat quiet as a mouse, with her little pink mouth open and took it all in. Through her own dainty opera glasses she watched the mice in the audience dressed in their Sunday best, while the orchestra was getting ready, playing discordant notes, last minute tuning up, thus announcing the performance would soon be starting. The mysterious Flittermouse was about to take the revenge! The Magic Flute, so enchanting! One day a big surprise awaited Ollie at home. A dark shiny brown majestic object, towering over her. She opened the heavy lid. It was a piano! The sounds the ivory keys made were unlike any piano she had heard. Mom said it was because it was an-

tik, which Ollie registered in her mind as a “magical, weird smelling and sounding object, an excellent castle for toys”. Her music education started; it was disappointingly dry. Home practice soon turned into an unpleasant activity. Mom was usually busy and could not sit and listen, Dad was travelling for work. Her pet beetle, Fugue, ran from the room as soon as she heard the scales, the high notes unbearable to her minuscule ears. Ollie, all alone, did not have patience to practice and move beyond the noise resembling the pre-concert orchestra tune up. Her heart grew sad like a blue note.

Part II Ollie grew up and had her own mouselings, lively Teddy and lovely Niunia. Teddy was drawn to music and joined Madame Legatta’s Rhythm Group for little mice too young to play instruments yet. He was happily drumming and tapping on anything that made sound and continued that through the summer holidays and the breaks from lessons. New school year started and Teddy eagerly awaited the lessons, but Madame Legatta did not return. She got very ill. One morning, out of the blue, Ollie received a message from school. Madame L. reached out from her hospital bed to get in touch with Teddy’s parents to tell them “Teddy should get piano lessons. Despite being so young, he is ready”. Ollie’s fur prickled with apprehension from the sign received. Teddy was very keen. In fact he had been asking for a while if he could have lessons, but Mum was hesitant. He promised he would practice every day! They decided to give it a go and if Teddy kept his word for 2 months, they would buy a proper piano. Teddy played with amazing eagerness. Ollie always sat down to listen. Little Niunia pranced and danced to the rhythm, making up new frolic-dance routines to every melody. The house filled with music and laughter. The music became a constant in the life of the family, and as soon as Niunia was big enough to reach the keys, she started playing too, healing Ollie’s heart with all kinds of notes, not only the blue ones. Story and photo by Ola Porebska, Poland/Australia

Sole Afra Martínez, Argentina

The Musician Sounds came at all times, Waltzes, cumbias, tangos. Sounds from the world Which kept the neighbours awake. A rough carpet was intended To muffle the high-pitched tones. However, the melodies Could reach faraway spots. The mystery of the musician Was never resolved Until the maid confessed No man lived in that home. How can that be? Who plays like that? I don’t know, people. Unless…it’s the cat.

Sole Afra Martínez, Argentina

Danse Macabre Hardly supposed to meet at all would they be bound by dancing floor Her Tarantula blackness strikes His lady Birdness, ladylike Lifelong tune fiddles with those two not obvious who is led by whom While his mere bread will earn no thanks her daily catch may ask to dance To make her wish come true as your dream appease predatory urge schemes stay Ladybird persist in swirl foam

Poem and photos by Małgorzata Starzyńska, Poland

Zita Toth, Scotland/Hungary

Yes, it’s often hard. But sometimes easy, too. Ups, downs, good, bad. As it will always be. But it’s up to you how you react. Will you let it rule you? Don’t. Because it’s time for colours… Time to shine.

Zita Toth, Scotland/Hungary

Arevhat Simonyants, Uzbekistan 

My First Experience In Teaching Wedding Waltz…

I love dancing, singing different songs, Spending time with friends, but not alone. There are many friends, but close are few, They are people, who really love you! So, this summer I got pleasant news, That I am invited to the wedding. Whose?! It was a party of my friend’s brother, They asked me to be a dance teacher moreover. “I am just an amateur!” I said. If you want, we’ll use the internet. So, we did! Ed Sheeran with his “Perfect” song And some moves we were rehearsing not so long. I was enjoying the process and their love, This young couple looked like a pair of doves They were turning, moving gently, doing steps, Laughing, feeling tired, but without regrets. And on the 12th of August, their wedding day, The bride and groom were dancing in their best way. I wish them happiness and love forever, Let them be always blissful partners, and together.

Arevhat Simonyants, Uzbekistan 15.09.2018

Kalamkari painting, Indian folk art, 2018 Sonia Roychowdhury, India 

(An ode to Krishna...the blue-auraed God & Radha his lover) Indian mythology is filled with stories of their love & the power of his flute on everyone around.

Dedicated to my father who was named Krishan after Lord Krishna. Krishna, Oh Krishna, Oh dusky Krishna, Place thy rosebud lips onto thy flute, let it's melody make all else go mute. Let it pull at Radha's heartstring, and creatures from the forest bring. Surrounding thee with rapt attention, as it plays a tune to perfection.
 Let the fragrant and gentle breeze, carry it's sweet euphony. Alluring all of nature, wanting to listen to thee. It makes peacocks go into a trance, and like flowers in the wind dance.
 The pitter patter of raindrops, on the hot sizzling earth. The swishing of leaves, the chirping of birds, the buzzing of a bumble bee…. All become an orchestra to thee. Radha looks upon thee passionately. Humming along a tune, under the Kadamb tree. While leaves twirl & flutter down, wanting to touch thy lotus feet on the ground. Krishna, Oh Radha's beloved Krishna. Sonia Roychowdhury, India

Habiba Chouchen, Tunisia

My Endless Love

I am a part of his soul, and I carry him in my blood... I see his eyes and smile every time I look in the mirror... We shared the laughter and the tears for so many years and I wonder how can I still breathe when he passed away??!! He is a teacher and he was my model to follow, but my shame was that I didn't learn how to play the music he was teaching... However we used to sing together… My father, you are the sweetest melody of my life, having you by my side was a divine symphony that I wished would never end… I took your presence and love for granted, I thought you are immortal, never had I imagined living without your encouragement… However you are still alive in me, in my heart… you will always be...

Habiba Chouchen, Tunisia

Art by Yulia Ivanova, Russia

My Grandfather's Coat Music is a portal into magical worlds. A melody may bring back a moment in your life, an inspiration, or allow the imagination to go wild. For me, the Song of the Volga Boatmen is all three. My father had a beautiful album collection sampling all parts of the world. As a child, I'd listen to Mireille Mathieu and imagine adventures in Paris. Fairuz would send me to the exotic Middle East with mystery and intrigue. Gregorian Chants would place me in a monastery in the mountains during Easter for times of reflection. A live Buddy Rich album would take me to a pub in London. I don't recall the first time I heard the Song of the Volga Boatmen. It may have been from the movie "The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming� which was a humorous tale of the senselessness of the Cold War. The ending has a touching scene of cooperation illustrating our common humanity. I vividly remember my father's USSR Army Chorus album. The Song of the Volga Boatmen is striking with the start of the rhythmic baritone soloist which builds with the chorus and then ends again with the soloist. The melody transported me to scenes from novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, where the winters can be intense with large snow drifts, grey skies, and bitter cold, it wasn't too difficult to imagine Russian winters as I listened to that melody. During my teen years, I had inherited a very long heavy black wool coat from my grandfather. It was a perfect coat to stop the wind while shoveling the driveway of the foot or two of snow that had fallen. I would play the Volga Boatmen in order to get into the spirit of the hour or two spent clearing the driveway. The music had become part of the ritual. The melody would play in my head as I shoveled and my imagination would keep me occupied as I rhythmically moved the snow. For me, the melody was tied to the earth and had a recognition of nature. Snow falls. The driveway needs to be cleared, shovel by shovel. Snow falls again. The pattern continues. It's a necessity that needs to get done and life moves on. At the end of the shoveling, I'd come back in the warm cozy home and be greeted with hot chocolate my mom prepared. We'd settle in and watch the snow from the kitchen window and play a game of cards or scrabble with music in the background. Anthony Kolasny, USA 

A Waltz and a Wish One, two, three and four. Waltzes tap your memory's door. All the noises of today Fail to sweep the hopes of May; Fail to stop the flow o' steps, Or the smiles on your lips, Though it all is but a dream; And the gleam is just a gleam. Waltzes are, and'll always be Realised ethereally Just like thoughts of Eden are And the tunes from afar. One, two, three and four. Waltz and hope for evermore.

Samar Tulba, Egypt 

Putting the Pieces Together There are five pieces that fit together to create a clarinet. The Bell: This is the very foundation of the clarinet. I was able to play clarinet thanks to the kindness, love and generosity of a woman I called “Grandma Brook”. My parents couldn’t afford lessons so she offered to pay for them. Each week she would place 3 dollar bills on the chest of drawers so I could have a lesson. I vowed that I would play clarinet for the rest of my life. Lower Joint: Attaching to the bell is the lower joint, keys designed for the right hand. I spent many hours practicing when I was a child, which put me in direct competition with Steven who also practiced for hours. We sat next to one another but he was considered the lead player and given all the solos. I thought I was better and should be the lead instead. One day I got up the courage to ask the conductor to please audition us hoping he would see I should be the lead. He laughed at me and said, “Girls don’t play lead.” I was crushed, Steven laughed about this. I decided I would continue to improve and not give up, that one day perhaps, I could prove myself better. Upper Joint: This piece holds the keys for the left hand. I went to the high school of Music and Art and studied with one of the finest clarinet teachers. Steven attended his local high school and he studied with my teacher’s rival. They were considered the best clarinet teachers of New York City, but with very different methods. Much to my surprise, Steven and I attended the same College. We auditioned to play in the school’s band and were seated as the number one and two clarinetists. I was number one and he was number two. Barrel: This little piece is called the barrel because it looks like a barrel with one end being a little wider. I attended College as an Education Major but took so many courses in music that much to my surprise, when it came time to graduate, had earned a degree in Music as well. I happily became a Music Teacher. I received many awards for my accomplishments but the greatest was having one of

my clarinet students win a music scholarship as best clarinetist in the county. Mouthpiece: The very top of the clarinet, along with a reed and ligature to hold the reed, completes the instrument. Having retired from teaching, I could spend time playing clarinet again. I became the solo clarinetist for a Jewish Chorus, learning to play Klezmer style. I have also joined a Klezmer band, which performs dance music for special occasions. And so, here I am, sitting with other musicians, about to play for an eager audience. My clarinet is all put together now. It has fulfilled my every dream. I have loved journeying through my life with it. This was the waltz I was born for. Speaking of waltzes, I am ready to play our opening waltz and hope everyone dances.

Judy Ana Gutlerner, USA  

The beat goes on? We’re living in a world where everything’s faster Emojis, memes, acronyms so hard to master There’s not enough effort, there’s not enough time Good thing we still have the time to rhyme Videos are shorter, here comes a boomerang I’ll answer your message with a video of mine No one writes, no one converses Good thing that songs still have verses We don’t use our words and just send a like Our discourse skills have taken a hike We search for a gif, they never will bore us Good thing that music still has a chorus Where did the days go when we heard full CDs? We listened to vinyl both side A and side Bs We are moving through life in bits and pieces Good thing that the music never ceases Turn off your iTunes, Spotify and do something drastic Take time from your day and experience a classic Connect with the music, feel all the emotion Bring back days filled with harmonic motion Learn to connect, to dance and sing It’s as old as time, it ain’t no new thing Heal your soul, it’s very therapeutic Good thing we still have this thing called music

Rob Howard, USA/Poland

Music takes me back to when I was a teenager. It can bond or it can divide. My father never forced his operatic tastes on me. But then my father was perfect. He tolerated my taste (and worse still, my brother’s) with a serene, composed look on his face. He was really older and much, much wiser. He knew that forbidding our kind of music was tantamount to open rebellion from us. I started with The Bee Gees. My father didn’t even protest when I hung big posters of Barry Gibb all over my bedroom walls. I now regret that I was more rebellious than my eldest sister who now recognizes all the arias. But music for me spoke volumes. It said out loud what I was too reserved or too shy to verbalize. I was me. I was a rebel. I’m the only one out of six siblings with a tattoo. A small tattoo but a tattoo nonetheless. A quiet rebel, but a rebel nonetheless. I expressed myself through clothes and music. Yes I now regret not learning from my father. I have few regrets but perhaps this is one of them. It did not create a divide because my father was wise. Change of scenario : When I was 16, a 28 year old, prim and proper, public school boy fell in love with me. He was from a different country, a different generation. I wanted discos, he wanted to take me to the Bolshoi ballet. I wanted to listen to Queen but he drank a glass of sherry and listened to classical music when I stayed with him after I graduated. My father was wise, David was not. Fast forward. I now love classical music but I also love jazz and swing and soft rock. I try now to introduce my students to a variety of music. Nina Simone, Leonard Cohen, Smetana.... because as Oliver Sacks wrote in his book Musicophilia: “Familiar music acts as a sort of Proustian mnemonic, eliciting emotions and associations that had long been forgotten.” There will come a day, a day far away, when these same students will hear my music and think back to their time in Malta, and maybe someone will remember me. Maybe.

Story and photo byJean Sciberras, Malta

Dancing with consciousness Dressed up in an elegant dancing dress In the arms of a seductive man I’m dreaming of that gorgeous dancing room Dancers embracing each others with complicity Feet shuffling along on the floor in the waltz of fate Joy and happiness wrap the dancers in the deep of the night Bringing to light the sharpest knowledge Dancing and whirling round in the teaching outfit Within the dress pleats, words and sentences Dancing and shuffling along in the arms of literature Poems and poets with consonants and assonances With rhyme and syllables, rhythm and metaphors Listening, writing, training and translating Dancing with eagerness and elegance Through questions and answers, difficulties and successes Dancing with a demanding audience Music, art, rules and discipline Are always at hand to keep the balance Never let your mind and feet stumble Put on a new grammatical and lexical dress Move with the music and follow the steps With care, agility and softness Head held high with a royal abnegation Tiptoe while spinning to perceive the weakness To avoid stepping on your dancers’ feet That’s the waltz which brings home the bacon and satisfaction.

Patricia Emilien, New Caledonia

The seahorse Seahorses have always fascinated me. They have a kind of elegance and uniqueness about them. And yet so small in size. Having been born and bred in Malta, enhances this attraction. My ancestors come from England, Croatia, Greece and Malta, so whenever I look at the seahorse I remember the seas my ancestors sailed across.

The student The student reminds me of my vocation – that of teaching. Through teaching I help others. Through teaching I keep on learning. So I too, am an ongoing student.

The child The child embodies my three children, my three step-children and my grandkids. This, I believe is the most important music I was born for. I thank God for the gift of motherhood and grandmotherhood. Sadly, the world is shunning this life time career for more worldly goods and comforts.

Carmen Camilleri, Malta 

Gustav It was a warm afternoon. I was preparing for my class, which consisted of about 12 adult learners, all eagerly expecting to learn English in a fortnight in our bright and sunny Malta.

I had already spent my weekend on lesson plans and researching material to be used in class. But the day before, one of my intermediate students had asked me to give them some examples of slang words. And since music is the universal language that everybody understands and loves, I try to spice up my lessons with songs whenever possible. So, armed with a CD player and photocopies, I gingerly stepped into the classroom. With a warm smile and a quick look around, I could tell that a silver haired gentleman, who was in his fifties, was looking downcast. Again!? While I was plugging in the CD and exchanging pleasantries, I wondered what was troubling him.

I had chosen Nina Simone’s ‘Ain’t got no’ to be the song with some form of slang American English. And when the time was right, I played the song and asked my students to close their eyes if they would and try to understand the words. At the end of the second listening, something strange happened. A tear slid down the cheek of my troubled 50 year old, silver haired and moustached student. I was gobsmacked! However, in order not to embarrass him, I immediately started asking questions so as to create small group discussions. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that he had overcome the momentary emotion and had joined his group in an animated discussion.

After class was dismissed, he shyly came over to talk to me and thanked me for choosing this song. It had helped him, he said, not only to learn English as a foreign language, but also in his life. He explained that he had founded a small business in his twenties but that this enterprise had floundered in recent years and eventually died. And he had come to Malta feeling dejected and had been feeling as if he was passing through a long dark tunnel. But, hey presto, Nina Simone’s song had flicked on the light at the end of the tunnel. In a flash he had realised that he was full of self-pity, that everyone was carrying some sort of baggage in his/her life, and that there were others who were far worse off than him. That losing the business was not the end of the world. That he was looking at the negative side of his life, while taking for granted other assets and treasures that belonged to him and only him, and that no one could take away. I could tell that his dejected spirit had taken flight and was soaring high in the blue Mediterranean sky.

Carmen Camilleri, Malta

Gudny Sigridur Olafsdottir, Iceland

Tango Start with the embrace Things are easier when you’re not alone Even if it hurts and the hand below your shoulder blade burns your skin Hold your head high with your chin lifted No one needs to know that inside you’re bleeding Breathe in Take a step back Take it slow You’ve been running for too long One more step back You can only take a good decision If you examine things from a distance, right? Breathe out Take another step back Let the whole drama overtake you Breathe in again Now you can move faster But you never get to move forward Unless it’s the ocho Then you can sort of without ever proceeding

Magdalena Brzezinska, Poland

This booklet has been printed, once again, by the Printing House of the Vocational Rehabilitation Facility of the Bielsko Artistic Association Grodzki Theater ul. Stefanii Sempolowskiej 13, 43-300 Bielsko-Biala, Poland 

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