31 May 2019

Odes to the Violin

From Michael Hill International Violin Competition, 12:00 pm on 31 May 2019

This week in celebration of the opening of the 2019 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, we asked RNZ Concert listeners to break out their feathered pens and write some poetry.


Violin Photo: 123rf

It's the Ode to the Violin contest.

The top winning poems will receive a package of four CDs by previous MHIVC winners.

Here are our top five favourite entries:


Libby of Christchurch, writes:

Oh cruel mistress!

You wooed me with promises of joy divine.

But l could never possess you. You wanted all my thoughts, all my time, The very heart of me. I cast you aside,

Only to hear you singing now In others arms.


Lukas, age 12, from Auckland writes:

This is an ode to my violin.

Which is my love and my yang to my yin.

I look after my bow. Like it is my Romeo.

When I die, lay it in my coffin. My heart lies with my violin. Playing her is where each day ends and begins.

I am lit, all aglow. With each fortissimo.

She is my all, my star, my heroine.


Joan from Hamilton takes on the Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams:

Violin, I love you so

Where you lead, there I will go

Through joy and sadness, love and hope

With these emotions I can cope


Violin, not wanting to nark

Why do you need to play The Lark?

Morn ascends when sun is lit

Evening grief sinks without it


If you play Brahms

I have no qualms

I can sit

Through Mozart’s wit

Elgar’s pace

Is no disgrace


He works for me


If you leave The Lark alone

Violin, I’ll have no groan

Through joy and sadness, love and hope

With you I’ll stay for many a day.


Ian, from parts unknown, gets philosophical:

The spruce is loose with its wood,

The pine its resin, the horse its hair

The cat regrets its gut,


If you’re a Strad, you can’t be bad.

An Amati? You can party,

And a Guarnari is a stringed Ferrari,

Owner from Cremona.

Stringed thing

Take wing, sing!

Oh! You need a hand?

To play in the band,

Someone to twiddle with the fiddle,

So violinist take a bow

(or is that bow, I don’t know).


Sara, from Dunedin, writes an ode to extreme patience:

Metallic strings that jar

And fail to keep in tune from lesson to lesson,

Sticky tapes across the fingerboard

Ignored by tiny fingers, out of tune.

Pads of foam held on with rubber bands.

An open string concert each weekend.

Bemused parents wonder why 

The object of their six-year-old’s desire

Should be an eighth-sized violin.


These entries were passed through the crucible of RNZ Concert's Friday afternoon staff, and the winners have been judged:

Libby from Christchurch and Sara from Dunedin!

Congrats to our wordsmiths, and, judging from your poems, you'll be glad to be hearing the violin in the hands of talented professionals. Keep an ear out for RNZ Concert's coverage of the 2019 Michael Hill International Violin Competition on air and online over the next week.