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Lay for the Day
22nd June

1846: the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax was granted patents for his latest creation, a family of single-reed brass instruments called saxophones.
Lol Coxhill is as good a soprano saxophonist as you are ever likely to hear.
(Sax is celebrated in further Lays on 3rd February and 6th November, and Lol Coxhill on 19th September.)

Lol Coxhill

Extruded citric arrangements of tones
cantilevered over against the overtones…
Something stirred on the heap of memory.

Esemplastic corrosive displacements of tones
skirting themselves with overtones…
Cockcrow on the mound of memory.

Filibustering epicacophony of tones
sardonically figured with baroque undertones…
Glint of metal on the pile of memory.

An old-fashioned tune’s dismantled tones
assemble like ghosts in the overtones…
Spike of grass on the brow of memory.

Splay of clownish inarticulate tones,
poignant buffoon with harlequin undertones…
This was mine on the ash-tip of memory.

Elliptical double-edged tones…
Underdog truth comes over like the sun
on the nightly rise of memory.


John Gibbens
from The Improvised Version, Vol. 2


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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