Monday, June 25, 2018

Autumn Leaves

Last night at Shore Poets I heard six pieces played by a solo saxophonist, Graham Walker. One of his performances was a version of the well-known standard Autumn Leaves. Some time ago I wrote a poem called Autumn Leaves (inspired by a sax version I'd heard on the radio). Graham's performance last night, as far as I'm concerned, was my poem.

Autumn Leaves

(Les Feuilles Mortes)

I wallowed in the sweep of falling strings
and lush satin tones of Nat King Cole.
He sang of leaves of red and gold,
the sunburned hands I used to hold -
and how, my darling, days grew long.
In slid the brass, honeyed and lulling.
The leaves drifted past, as they usually do,
and I was softly seduced - yet again.
Loss was so sweet, heartbreak so smooth.

But last night I heard a saxophonist play:
he gripped that song and twisted every bar;
he stripped the trees to their bare black branches
and blew the oncoming winds of winter.
His discord bit like acid in my gut;
each note was a 3 a.m. emptiness.
And when I lost the tune, I fully knew
the essence of the song, its agony.

(Published in LONDON GRIP, Summer 2017)


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Jim C. Wilson  Poet
‘A true poet —