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The Improvised Version

Volume 1

Poems and prints
by John Gibbens

Published July 2004
A5, 32pp, stapled, card cover.
ISBN 978-0-9539153-8-5

Poems about musicians, from Louis Armstrong and Albert Ayler to the Beatles and roots reggae band Culture, illustrated with 17 inkjet prints taken from linocuts and drawings.


The son of the herald’s brass tongue,
once a proclaimer of pomp
and the slaughterer’s sign,
an orphan boy came

from hunger to play on the horn
of plenty a brilliant noon
of July, to pronounce
illicit feelings

of love from the rooftops, that laid
down revolutionary terms
and made the conqueror’s
instrument a voice

of hosts it had not spoken for,
defeated and dispossessed,
the grey weight of whose tears
were turned from the bell

to a downfall of unsurpassed gold,
to the pearls that Louis
from Storyville scattered
over the blue world.

His namesake a lifespan later
set foot upon virgin dust,
but Satchmo had told us
to walk in the sun.


See The Improvised Vision,
a gallery of musicians

Go to the Trading Post to buy
The Improvised Version, Vol 1

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