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Re: Music Poems

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:26 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Adam, who wrote 'For Chopin'? (Unless it's all your own work, in which case I'm highly impressed).

Re: Music Poems

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:35 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Just thought of another one, Wallace Stevens' 'The Man With The Blue Guitar'.

It goes on for pages unfortunately, so just a taster, but longer extracts if your appetite's been whetted at http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/ ... uitar.html

Stevens is one of those poets who sometimes seems to be saying more than he really is, but I like the echoes and associations in this - Picasso, Lorca perhaps, the blues guitar, etc..

"The man bent over his guitar,
A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.

They said, "You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are."

The man replied, "Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar."

And they said then, "But play, you must,
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,

A tune upon the blue guitar
Of things exactly as they are."

Re: Music Poems

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:47 pm
by judith
'blue' reminded me of this one, Langston Hughes again, a piano this time:

The Weary Blues

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway . . .
He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man's soul.
O Blues!
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan--
"Ain't got nobody in all this world,
Ain't got nobody but ma self.
I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
And put ma troubles on the shelf."

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more--
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied--
I ain't happy no mo'
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.

Langston Hughes

Hugh Weldon wrote:Stevens is one of those poets who sometimes seems to be saying more than he really is,

I liked this comment, Hugh. It set me wondering if it isn't often a quality found in many poems that I like?

Re: Music Poems

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:09 pm
by Adam Blake
Hugh Weldon wrote:Adam, who wrote 'For Chopin'? (Unless it's all your own work, in which case I'm highly impressed).


Thanks, Hugh. It was written about twenty years ago by whoever I was then. I think I'd been reading a lot of Shakespeare at the time.

Some great poems by proper poets turning up on this thread.

Re: Music Poems

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:07 am
by Hugh Weldon
Just thought I'd revive this thread to share something someone put me on to last night. The poet drives a cab in New York apparently. Maybe it is too clever for some tastes, but I like it.

Ken Burns poem

“There’s no such thing as bop music, but there’s such a thing as progress.”—Coleman Hawkins

Although jazz’s sepia, acetates, and lacquers have dipped the black into silver nitrate, and are faded little faders, they inflate like lungs. The pink lung, with its tortoiseshell shellac appears to bulge, and its inseam exhales purity, and inhales spoonfuls of tempo. Purity in jazz, sir, is thwarted and unutilized. Two hundred years of minstrels, snapping their red suspenders, corrode and oxidize the air. Mr. Tambo: What kind of a girl was she? Zip: She was highly polished; yes, indeed. Her fadder was a varnish-maker.... You see, that rubber pork chop became something. Bechet’s Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble, from its mold has been heated and mounted face-to-face with a hinge so that the machine opens up facing you. It is not lieder or intermezzo, frozen like trout beneath the flux and ratamacuing of ice. It is not alpine: Eingeschlafen auf der Lauer / Oben ist der alte Ritter.... Through the cracked photos, breaking into creosote, superlatives douse the monoliths: “virtuoso," “genius.” But there is a siphoning-off of licking pink jam from the knife: Negativities: the integrated bands, for example, of alcoholics, benzedrine-heads, and junkies, or the deranged catastrophe of Buddy Bolden feeding his hand to a ceiling fan, or the wicks saturated with amphetamines, or Buddy Rich telling the trumpet section of “fuckfaces” that he’d plink them every seven bars like a neutered werewolf. When Coleman Hawkins stood half-nude like a mango in Friedlander’s photo (1956) with his curved man-breasts sweating from It May Not Be True, he appears modern. He is not a manqué nostalgic, an item, logistical. He—lung of aerate, propulsive tub, urgently pumping ninths— is the living demonifuge, ripping through a blanket of vanilla radio. Racial animus, intractable sources, faded scriptures, the pinstripes of the Storyville mudheads, midwives, and the peach tintypes fitted into ladies’ brooches are not jazz. This strategy does not puff the uvula’s blowpipe or bring an axe to the Fat Black Pussycat. Rather, it shufflebucks, pantomimes, and dabs slop with a hankie. Meanwhile, as the onyx rattlesnake of the century slid by 1960, the year the fedora went up the flue, jazz, too, opened like a fire in a woman’s ceremony—it did not end. Ayler had yet to drag the black river into rivulets of need. Unkempt skinny dips, red vinyl seats of the Southern buses, and the vinegar cloud of the trees’ harpsichords were made, too, of a jazz. As the bus ate the road’s tape measure, the ballrooms closed, the Hickory House sewed 52nd Street into a flytrap enmeshed with liquid static. The green river you ignore is realized by the black river growing wings beneath the shoulder blades of the hatchling:— Coleman Hawkins who morphs with alular quills into a hawk. Dark patagial marks on underwings, present on all ages and races, conjured shadows beyond the last section of the long film. You’re afraid of listening to this lady? He, too, with parade float head, eyes like flashing lindyhoppers, lunging with the lumpy fabric of the past, pushing his gauge, a deuce of blips, bloodstream lush as a viper, is more righteous than scumpteen codification. In closing sir, the reed was always remoistened while you were in the booth, cutting the montage sequence. But the pink sequins of Bessie Smith, quenched with yielding limelight, disappear into dust like eighth notes. My button ejects and the tongue spits out the disk’s rainbow.

Sean Singer

Re: Music Poems

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:57 pm
by Adam Blake
"Urgently pumping ninths" - oh, yes! I like it.

Hand me my strad, Dad, if that isn't solid gone...

Re: Music Poems

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:43 pm
by NormanD
Son Tom apparently described me to a friend (she told me what he said) as a member of the Jazz Police: "He goes around looking for flattened fifths".

I think he'd like this poem.