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Lay for the Day
5th January

Charles Mingus, bassist, composer and bandleader, died on this day in 1979.
The poem and picture are from Septet, one of the Inkjet Books.

Double Bass

Mine is the voice more profound and gentle
when the horns sob,
more stern while the saxophones celebrate.

Among the machines of music I am
Ulysses’ bow,
that blisters fingers and renders hands raw.

Who masters me is quiet about it.
I am the wise
and encouraging one, the counsellor.

Is my large brown body feminine?
Then hold me close
and dance, and be my partner for life.

In cries and whims we’ll partner them, for here
it’s not begun,
to tell the truth, till the fat lady’s sung.


John Gibbens

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar