If you’re a guitarist, you know that the guitar is more than just an instrument – it’s a source of inspiration, creativity, and emotion. In this post, we’ve compiled a list of seven poignant poems that capture the beauty, power, and significance of the guitar. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out on your musical journey, these poems are sure to speak to you and your love of the guitar.
Once sang, as I sing, the old songs.
There’s no end, there’s no end
to this world, everlasting.
We crumble to dust in its arms.
In The Guitar, Patrick Phillips describes a guitar that has been worn down and marked by its previous owners. The scratches on its surface come from their belt buckles, and its body is darkened by their sweat. These physical signs of use suggest that the guitar has been played by many musicians before the speaker.
The speaker reflects on the fact that they are singing the same old songs that previous players sang, implying that music is timeless and enduring. Despite the fact that people come and go, the music and the guitar remain, symbolizing the eternal nature of the world.
The guitar is a symbol of the interconnectedness of people and the continuity of life. Each person who plays the guitar leaves their mark on it, just as they leave their mark on the world. The guitar serves as a reminder of the impermanence of life and the enduring power of art.
Two guitars were left in a room all alone
They sat on different corners of the parlor
Cruz’s poem Two Guitars is about an imagined conversation between two guitars. The first guitar laments the fact that its strings are tight and full of tears, and that its player has no heart. The guitar describes how the player’s emotions can be seen and heard in the music that is played on it. The guitar also speaks of the transformative power of music, saying that it can bring down angels and loosen organs with its melodies.
The second guitar tells the story of its own history, starting in New York in 1944 when it was played by a member of the Trio Los Panchos. The guitar describes the passion and emotion of the music played on it and the gatherings it was a part of, including a baptism and a flirting session over chicken soup. The second guitar also speaks of the resonance and echoes that music can leave behind, and the way it can transport listeners to other places and times.
Through Two Guitars, Cruz suggests that music has the power to connect people and evoke strong emotions. The two guitars stand for the enduring power of music to unite people and generate lifelong memories.
The weeping of the guitar
Lorca’s The Guitar or La Guitarra in Spanish is a very popular poem in Spain. Flamenco guitar playing frequently accompanies the poem’s lyrical delivery. In The Guitar, Lorca personifies the theatrical potential of the instrument while also emphasizing the longing and pain of the human condition. The Modernismo movement of Spanish poets in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which promoted a sense of patriotism, cultural sophistication, a quest for aesthetic, and Romantic values, as well as Lorca’s fascination with the origins of flamenco music, served as inspiration for this poem.
The imagery in this poem is so intensely depressing and lonely that it is impossible to remain unaffected by them. The guitar is depicted as somberly and uncontrollably sobbing it resembles natural phenomena such as wind and flowing water. It cannot be contained, quieted, calmed, soothed, or pacified. And then, there is a heart that has been wounded by swords, a dead bird, an arrow without an aim, and hot, barren sand. This environment is as hostile to humans as a scorching desert. Comfort is a long way off and won’t answer the call.
I have always loved the word guitar.
I have no memories of my father on the patio
At dusk, strumming a Spanish tune,
Or my mother draped in that fawn wicker chair
Polishing her flute;
In the poem Guitar by David St. John, the speaker reflects on their love for the word “guitar,” despite not having personal experiences or memories associated with the instrument. The speaker mentions their parents and a sister but does not have any memories of them playing or listening to music involving a guitar.
The speaker also mentions their lack of belief in romanticized stories about gypsies and their experiences with attending concerts featuring lutes, mandolins, and guitars. Despite this, the speaker expresses a deep love for the word “guitar,” possibly due to the musical connotations and the sensory imagery it evokes.
Cyrus, always I try to put my soul
into building a guitar,
here on Cuesta de Gomerez,
full of sovereign guitar-makers,
street slanting up to an arch
of the colossal Alhambra.
Guitarrero! by Cyrus Cassells describes the process of building guitars in Granada, Spain. The speaker emphasizes the time and care that goes into building a top-notch guitar, including the selection and drying of specific types of wood for a minimum of thirty years. He also references their family history as musicians and dancers and the tradition of presenting their first guitar as a gift to their mother.
The speaker describes the pride and satisfaction they feel in their work, and the tradition and cultural significance of guitar-making in Granada. The poem celebrates the speaker’s craftsmanship and connection to their heritage through their work as a guitar maker.
For you can travel with a screaming red rolling bag
and float unnoticed on conveyors, through terminals
In Marquart’s Traveling with Guitar, the speaker reflects on the attention and reactions they receive when traveling with a guitar. The speaker compares the reactions to those elicited by other types of luggage, such as a screaming red rolling bag or a moose rack. The guitar is described as a source of fascination and nostalgia for strangers, who share their own memories of playing in garage bands.
The speaker also speaks of their own personal connection to the guitar, describing it as a body of their body and a string of their strings. With this poem, Marquart explores the role of the guitar as a symbol of creativity and self-expression and the way it can bring people together through shared experiences and memories.
I witnessed its wildness escape into your body
screaming kissy words
while your fingers plucked at my guitar
Guitar Player by Garry Gottfriedson is a reflection on the intense emotions and physical sensations aroused by a person playing the guitar. The speaker describes the guitar player’s wildness and intensity as they play, and the way their eyes convey a desire to connect with the speaker’s soul.
He is moved and overwhelmed by the experience and feels a sense of powerlessness in the face of the guitar player’s passion and skill. Gottfriedson perfectly captures the primal and transformative power of music and the way it can bring people closer together through shared experiences of emotion and expression.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of moving poems about guitars. Whether you’ve been playing for decades or are just picking up the instrument for the first time, these poems are sure to resonate with you and your love of music. The guitar has a way of touching our hearts and souls in a way that few other things can, and these poems do a beautiful job of capturing that magic. So the next time you sit down to play, take a moment to reflect on the power and beauty of the guitar, and the role it plays in your life. Happy strumming!
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Thomas Dao is the guy who created Poem Home, a website where people can read about all things poetry related. When he’s not busy working on his next project, you can find him reading a good book or spending time with family and friends.