Poetry Inspired by Ronald Radford’s Performance

An Interesting Phenomena

Occasionally after a performance an audience member will present Mr. Radford with a poem which they say they were inspired to write, some spontaneously written on the back of a program, and some mailed to him later.Ron treasures these more than any of the ‘official’ rave reviews. These poems come from the hearts of ordinary people who were touched by his music and then compelled to their own act of creative art – writing a poem. Here he shares a few of his favorites.

Ronald Radford

Fourteen Years Later

By David McDonald (by email)

Dear Mr. Radford, I had the pleasure of being “dragged” to a concert you did in the fall of 1989 for the Hispanic Student Association at the University of Oklahoma. At the time, I was a stuck up college brat studying vocal music education. My college roommate was a classical guitarist who thought he might have an idea what was in store. What we saw was almost beyond comprehension. In my musical career, I have been blessed to see numerous incredible concerts. Many friends ask me, “Which one was the best?” Although I’ll tell them what it was like to see the likes of Elton John, Isaac Stern, and Luciano Pavarotti, I’ve always told them there was nothing more magical than a night in a lecture hall with you. In academia, there often exists an attitude that anything not purely classical is less than worthy of serious study. You taught me to value something in music that I’d always valued previously in life: All the world’s people have something incredible to say.

Now, there isn’t a single form of art I don’t relish, as long as it’s done well. You’re absolutely right. I’m a human first and a classical musician second. Since I’m told the best way to thank you is with poetry, if I can even express a quarter of the thanks I feel I’ll be happy.

At eighteen, I walked in, and quietly took my space
Way in the back, though there wasn’t a lack
Of seats in this lecture hall place.

People came after, with curious laughter, from around the institution.
We had to see, what was to be
Of the music from a Tulsa Andalusian.

He came on stage, talked like a sage, while explaining the evening’s program
His fingers raged, our ears engaged
And we watched between notes Gypsy slams

In fourteen years, I never hear, anything quite so keen
As when he said, ‘fore out we’re lead
“What you felt, you had to bring.”

Since that time, when I felt sublime, as I heard the evening’s last chord
I sit and wonder, and think about thunder
From the strings played by Ronald Radford.

The American Master of the Flamenco Guitar

Oda al Maestro

By Ricardo Santos Silva

Sus manos son alas que trasportan el sentimiento,
Sentimiento del Alma, que trasladan del llanto
Al canto y del canto a la alegría.
Sientes el palpitar del acorde de las notas de tu amante,
Que te siegue por doquiera por el universo entero.
Esa amante que te acompaña, esa amante es la guitarra…

(English Translation)
Your hands are wings which transport the feelings,
The feelings from the Soul, which transform from the lament
To the song and from the song to joy.
You feel the heartbeat of the rhythm of the notes of your beloved,
This follows you everywhere throughout the entire universe.
This beloved which goes with you, this beloved, is your guitar.

Ronald Radgord in Concert

Soul Song

By Steve Hinrichs

Gypsy memories – whirling, swirling
Yearn to be.
Plaintive, mystical tone of faraway haunts
Speaks with me.
Indwelling Presence, unfaltering Love,
Encompass us in the way. Ah, home at last,
Soul sings free.

Ronald Radford and Bulerias Flamencas

To Ron Radford, Flamenco Guitarist

By Jess Matlack

* (Lines written several miles above Denver, already a mile high)*

Once above a time
A tall man in white
Sat before us,
Poised (one foot on a stool, like a honky bootblack, waiting for work).
What he held
Was not a guitar
It was a new born child.
All were hushed by the strum less silence.
But no music came

Only words, like lasers
(I even saw two — maybe three — tears in the seat next to me).
“Finally!” (Said a small boy, almost ready to leave)
He caressed the baby:
What echoed was not
(Ole can you see, by the Spanish moonlight…?)
What climbed was not
(As one Texan said, “There’s a cottin’ pickin’ wet-back gypsy in there
Trying’ to get out!”)

What surged was not
(Even Malaguena, or Jose in staccato stilletoes)
What rose (by any other name)
Was (somewhere in Warsaw, by a fountain, a foot taps)
Quite unsheathed from reality:

It was
The language (and in Phenom Phen, another baby sings)
Of soul.

Ronald Radfort and His Art

Bulerias in Butler Library

By Jim Feely

Most of us sat stiffly
In the Cardy Reading Room,
On the soft green carpet
Under the Gothic points,
Coated with arms
In Victoria’s, domain
Hands, holding hands, or elbows
Or chins:
Soft, veined, boney, muscled,
Stuccatoed with brown
Waited to applaud for flamenco.
To the rhythm of flamenco
The bright violets on the window ledges
Strummed away
The cloud gray gloom of the afternoon,
And hands clapped loudly for flamenco.

Across the library in another hall
Sharp noses
Digging into long
Boxes of cards
Pointed – to the rhythm of flamenco
It all began when Victoria
At three
Went up to her grandfather

And stopped the time.

Ronald Radford

Snow Songs

By Lark H.

Are you enchanted?
Your guitar dings silence softly.
Eloquent words of silence.
Snow forest songs for eternity and the cosmos.
Slipping into divine rapture,
The rush of falling water,
The circles in a mirror,
I listen, content
To hear the muffled blowing of the stars
in a white sky across the deep meadow.
I experience melancholy, joyous refrains.
Your guitar sings snow songs in silence.

Ronald Radford, Entertainer Forever


By Rise Gilbert

You surrendered at last…
To Me… to God…
(Lightning and thunder)
The Lord with omnipotent wisdom…
Gave you the power of archangel in charge… Of celestial music…
On His Terrestrial planet
(Lightening and thunder)
Mortal men do not comprehend…
That your music has the Sublime timber of the sacred
(Lightning and thunder)
Master spirits… Angels…
Surrender… have given you
The power of David, the strength of Moses.
(Lightning and thunder)
Mortal men only comprehend
Instants of intoxication
(lightning and thunder)
Gentleness of the harp…
Caress of the cello, vibrating
Incomprehensible terrors in presence
Of the pure… all powerful…
You surrendered at last… To Me… To God.

Ronald Radford