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Lay for the Day 30th December

1926: the birthday of the late Stan Tracey, pianist, composer, and still inadequately celebrated maestro of British jazz.
A portrait of him with members of his octet, drawn at a gig a couple of decades ago, can be found in The Improvised Vision, a gallery of musicians.


Still your crying,
brass, your thunder
and lightning, drums
and let me speak.

I have reasons
for what you shriek,
wail and clatter,
for what you sing.

My words are each
full sentences
condensed and a
phrase whole pages.

What I proclaim
I have in black
and white. “Even
strength” is my name

and my heart like
yours is strings and
hammers, which with
these keys opens.


John Gibbens
from Septet


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar