A brief series of favorite poems and their histories, #7

Hi everyone,

Here’s #7 in the list of my favorite poems.

“Practice” appeared in A THOUSAND COUSINS, Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, 1996, and was later preserved by my good friend, Renee LaTulippe, as a video on No Water River, her online collection of poets reading their work. This poem has also been arranged into music by Chris Craig and is part of the repertoire of Byron Bigger’s Band.


Since Mama bought this stupid horn
I hate the day that I was born
‘Cause nothing makes me more forlorn
Than practice practice practice.

Other guys are playing ball
But Mama doesn’t care at all,
She’s going to drive me up the wall
With practice practice practice!

I deserve to go to jail
For murdering this B flat scale
And sounding like a dying whale
From practice practice practice.

I tried to tell her I’m not bright
So I could practice half the night
Forever and not get it right,
Why practice practice practice?

But nothing helps, not even tears,
I’m doomed to play this horn for years
With Mama yelling in my ears,

(c) 1996 David L. Harrison, all rights reserved