Literature » Poetry

Two poems by Robert Nisbet

Irving Berlin




The Ella Fitzgerald Song Book 

“Top Hat, White Tie and Tails”
“I’m Putting all my Eggs in one Basket”

  • Irving Berlin


From red kite country, driving South,
Dai Grandpa, fresh from yesterday,
such yesterday. Only when the
June sun sank, had Dai – dudein’
up my shirt front, puttin’ on
the shirt studs – reached evening’s land
– and such a yester-e’en. (Dai caught
the breeze, his ship came home.)
He breakfasts now in wild kite
land, lingers, loves the satiety,
his eggs now bundled in the one,
the only basket, there, on that wondrous
mountainside. The June sun’s out again
and brilliant and Dai (who’ll be back)
drives home, those Ella CD songs
strong, swinging, hey, that rhythm –
mussin’ up my white tie, dancin’
in my tails. Town centre traffic lights,
the shoppers gaze and Grandpa’s CD
thuds, ga-dunk, ga-dunk, ga-dunk.
The June day swings.


This poem first appeared in Poetry Wales and has just re-appeared in the author’s chapbook, Robeson Fitzgerald and Other Heroes (Prolebooks, 2017)





Eleven, they two outside the cinema.
His face seemed drained of colour.
This may have been the haunting
of the moonlight streetlight mix
but he walked from her so slowly
and was trembling.

At two a.m., from his bedsit flat
there came the sound of clarinet,
prickling, searching, a sound
neither Storyville nor Georgian street
but the utterance of a grief,
deep blues. 






Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who lives just 30 miles along the coast from Dylan Thomas’s Boathouse. Although he does not see himself as unduly competitive, he has just won the Prole Pamphlet Competition with Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes from which ‘The Ella Fitzgerald Song Book’ is taken. It is available from the publisher at