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Lay for the Day
29th April

1899: the birthday of Duke Ellington.


Duke Ellington,
no kind of peer,
is but the king
of gentlemen.

His wardrobe sheds
all shades but blue
at last, the sky’s
modest blazon.

He steps downstage
(mileworn holdall
features, sheen of
suit unwrinkled,

charmingly creased,
clearly to name,
as quietly proud

as a father
might well be, to
count off dawn for
a further sun-

set blue-gold piece..

John Gibbens
from Characters: You & I


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar