“Songbird” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

December 14th, 2018

 




SONGBIRD

a blues note broken in the middle

the songbird in the brambles startled
into silence shame for the intrusion

all autumn I have wandered in search
of a music which would still this dull grief
for every person I see wandering alone

every child I see looking at the world
with a question unanswered question
every animal abandoned to wander
through traffic in search of death

every couple I see waving arms in
the cursing dance common among
the intimate at war their lips forming
phrases only they know to use
only they can die from only they can still

all autumn music has drifted from alleyways
when I follow there is no one and no sound
music has wafted from waterfronts when I arrive
there is only the rasp of a ferry’s horn through fog
music chuckles like a brook or stream from playgrounds
all I find are merry-go-rounds and swings in slow motion

and then the sound of a bird in full throat wild as Sonny Terry
whooping it up and blowing his blues harp to save life in praise
of life to be life and the bird stops me dead in my tracks
and I feel grief flowing out through my arms my feet begin to dance
I move faster I begin to run I am sprinting I am the wind
in search of this blessed sound this freedom this wisdom
this hope and I begin to shout and in mid-note the song stops…

what song
what song is this
what song is this so sad
what song is this so sad it cheers
what song is this so sad it cheers and vanishes
who is this person so foolish he sits and waits for hours hoping
who sits and waits and begins to sing feathers growing beak forming
who hides in brambles to pour out lamentations easing a world’s fatigue…

 

*

by Michael L. Newell

 




_____





Michael L. Newell is a retired English/Theatre teacher who has spent one-third of his life abroad.  He now lives on the Oregon coast.  In addition to the recent publication of his new book, Meditation of an Old Man Standing on a Bridge, he has recently had poems published in Verse-Virtual and Current.




Click here  to access all of Michael L. Newell’s poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician




To order a copy of the book, contact BELLOWING ARK PRESS 18040 7th Avenue NE Shoreline, WA 98155






Share this:

3 comments on ““Songbird” — a poem by Michael L. Newell”

  1. I really enjoyed this, Mike, the growing urgency, I think. I see similarities of theme with Hardy’s ‘The Darkling Thrush’, but your piece had a shout and a lyricism all its own.

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

Jeffrey Stewart, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, is interviewed about Locke (pictured), the father of the Harlem Renaissance.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 19 recommended recordings by five jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 19 recently released jazz recordings, including those by Branford Marsalis, Joe Martin, Scott Robinson, Allison Au and Warren Vache

Poetry

In a special collection of poetry, eight poets contribute seventeen poems focused on stories about family, and honoring mothers and fathers

The Joys of Jazz

In this new volume of his podcasts, Bob Hecht presents three very different stories; on Harlem Stride piano, Billy Strayhorn's end-of-life composition "Blood Count," and "Lester-ese," Lester Young’s creative verbal wit and wordplay.

Short Fiction

We had many excellent entrants in our recently concluded 50th Short Fiction Contest. In addition to publishing the winning story on March 11, with the consent of the authors, we have published several of the short-listed stories...

“What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?”

Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Neil Tesser, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who write about their favorite album cover art

Art

“Thinking about Homer Plessy” — a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #128

Although he was famous for modernizing the sound of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra -- “On the Sunny Side of the Street” was his biggest hit while working for Dorsey (pictured) -- this arranger will forever be best-known for his work with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Who is he?

Great Encounters

In this edition, Bob Dylan recalls what Thelonious Monk told him about music at New York’s Blue Note club in c. 1961.

Art

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Stan Getz, Sun Ra, and Carla Bley.

Interviews

Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell discusses the life of the important 20th century American artist

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

Coming Soon

Michael Cuscuna, the legendary record producer and founder of Mosaic Records, is interviewed about his life in jazz...Award-winning photographer Carol Friedman, on her career in the world of New York jazz photography

In the previous issue

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, talks about her book, and the complex life of her late husband.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 22 recommended recordings by seven jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive