for the Day 27th
Jimi Hendrix is born in Seattle.
once said of the great Brazilian footballer Pelé that if he hadnt
been born a man he would have been born as a ball. Though the instrument
has had many great and unique players, Jimi is the one who, if he hadnt
been a guitarist, would have been born as a guitar.
the book of Praises:
Of a Guitar
Whose much-depicted outline
wood honours a gourd-built ancestor,
worldwide, unstandard shape: what hundreds
have you grown today?
Harmonic abacus whose taut
lift in wit or plangently those use-
worn words, like love, a chorus pitches
again on their plane.
Sudden, florid, sanguine
as a queen
of Barbary in Spain, resounding
pine and rosewood, crowned with thorny hands,
and nails, sing from the gut.
Moorish garden paths of nacre
round the back and the sound-hole. Well-bred laps
cradled you and with gentle pluckings
the evening ballads,
till, armed with metal and
long African fingers overseas
wrung from you the voice of their absence,
elided Europes scales.
Taking you up in place of
or harp in these intricate islands,
by history like the air that feeds you
are weighted again.
Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar