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Lay for the Day
6th November

Adolphe Sax was born in Dinant, Belgium on this day in 1814. He perfected the modern bass clarinet at the age of 20, and went on to be the only begetter of the saxophone family, which he developed in the 1840s.

Note: The saxophonists in the drawing are not John Coltrane. They could be Paul Dunmall and Jerry Underwood, or John Rangecroft. I suspect they might even be Evan Parker and Trevor Watts, about 25 years ago.



Adolphe Sax saw
the world, that it was good,
but thought it lacked somewhat
a brass serpent
with the voice of a cow in heat
if it so pleased,
the musical
of cats at midnight, dogs
in the moonlight, howler
monkeys in tops of trees.
This metal vocal chord,
external larynx and mono-
morphous menagerie
attached itself
to a man called Coltrane
and, making his humble
lungs its hard-pressed servant,
it spoke to God.
It spoke and what
it said was loud with love.

John Gibbens
from Septet


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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