WW II era in poetry

November 12th, 2018

photo by Maurice Seymour

 

 

photo by Herman Leonard

Billie Holiday, c. 1949

 

 

Smoking an Old Meerschaum Pipe

by Alan Yount

 

“For Billie Holiday, And My Dad, Listening To Her During W.W. Two ”

 

*****One*****

 

when I was going through a box
of my dad’s things, from the war,

I found his
old meerschaum pipe.

he was in the navy in new york city
and he worked on the u.s.s. missouri.

he was actually on
the first sailing of that ship.

while in the city, he heard
all the dance bands, that came to town

and many other musicians
that came around to play.

*****Two*****

back at home
when I was young

I remember in particular
he would pull out a seventy-eight

of billie holiday singing, “uptown blues,”
which he had heard, in the city.

it was john hammond”s first,
recording for “the harlem river line.”

*****Three*****

I also remember my dad …
while listening:

he was striking a match / then puffing
his pipe, made of meerschaum

(meaning sea foam
which was from the mediterranean).

it had an antique
cherrywood     stem,

& bowl with a patina
from years of smoking.

watching the tobacco
starting to burn …

there was … a slight hissing:
& smoke rising.

*****Four*****

billie’s singing voice
was wonderful.

she was singing the words, “what a little
moonlight can do, for you.”

he was for sure
thinking of her,

and new york city, and being
in his apartment during the war.

*****Five*****

curious how far the pipe’s
comfort,          comes from …

curling        slow shaping smoke

the very metaphor
of meditation.

all the time

while listening

to billie holiday’s jazz music …

both, blended together

as one.

 

 

 

 

_____

 

 

 

 

Alan Yount lives on the north bank of the Missouri River, just south of Columbia, Missouri, and has taken poetic inspiration from boating and floating the river for many years. His poems have been published in a variety of publications, including Palo Alto Review, Roanoke Review, Spring…the Journal of E.E. Cummings Society, Apostrophe Magazine, Columbia College Journal of the Literary Arts, Modern Haiku, Pegasus Review, and Tidepool Magazine. Alan also plays jazz trumpet, and has led his own dance band. He is a direct descendant of the famous frontiersman, Daniel Boone.

 

 

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22 comments on “WW II era in poetry”

  1. “I Got Lena To Sing To Me,” by Aurora Lewis, is a first-rate poem which captures the angst of military service during wartime, along with the pleasure and relief provided by great music.

    1. Thank you so much Michael. Not being in the service and also not during wartime, I am so thankful that I was able to get my feeling across to my reader.

  2. Alan Yount’s poem “Smoking an Old Meerschaum Pipe” uses a careful attention to detail to tie together very disparate elements that come to fruition in the final stanza in a pleasing way for the reader.

  3. Both of Dan Smith’s poems are gentle in tone and attentive to detail. They capture fundamental truths about family relationships, and war’s effect on them.

  4. For Aurora Davis. I think your poem on Lena really captured what you could say was the “singing tone,” on war. I have always enjoyed your poems with JJM. Thanks for your comment on my poem.

  5. For Michael L. Newell. I liked your poem. It caught the “spirit” of the crooners. Being a trumpet player I have all of Harry James albums. He and Frank make some great music together. Frank did his eulogy in Las Vegas. By he way, I got your two latest books. Several of the poems have stayed on my mind. Also I can’t quit thinking I wish I had come up with the title: “Traveling Without Compass or Map.” What a great overall metaphor and title!

    1. Mr. Yount, I thank you for your kind words about my poem. I also thank you for your support of my books. Greatly appreciated. — MLN

  6. Wonderful poems by all. I especially enjoyed Dan Smith’s poems here. Artful…and with a deep, tangible sincerity that can only come from having lived and having felt with the heart of a poet.

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