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Lay for the Day
29th August

1920: Charlie Parker is born in Kansas City.

Where the clarinet had
snaked and floated kite-like
above the cakewalking
march home from the graveyard,
little brother Parker
flew his fighter-agile
alto for a Night in
Tunisia, Scrapple from
the Apple, Parker’s Mood.

The shadow of his wings
has crossed the fretted brow
of every blower since
and sent some down in flames
and dared some to come higher.
I hear him as I warm
and wet the mouthpiece,
cry out in the wilderness,
a reed shaken by the wind.

John Gibbens
from Septet

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar