Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Arlene Corwin writes

Nobody Cares But You
(a poem about detachment)

It was a gig.* 
Fancy hotel, piano/song.
Song was “Yesterday” by Kern -
A song I’d learned; five decades worn. 
What could go wrong?
I knew the song from back to front,
Each bar, each note Jerome Kern wrote.
And then it happened in the bridge:**
Mind went blank! Memory rigid!
No matter how I searched and banged
I could not find the changes (chords),
Which key or what. Carrying on,
Not caring what the crowd
Was thinking, I remained the fool
On a piano stool until, at last,
The bumbling, stumbling passed
And I was back on track.

Key found, my vocal sound as good as ever,
I’d discovered never be stopped by obstacle or handicap;
Never let it sap nerve, verve or energies,
For I’m not there to serve or please;
I’m there to carry through a form of choice,
Give my jazz to some Corwin voice,
Let the moment be my norm
Never wishing for perfection 
Or to make a good impression,
The interpretation mine, just mine,
Anything I manage fine, just fine.

There’s no such thing as flawlessness. 
The folk out there more focussed 
On its own concerns and interests,
Concentrative powers, capability and prowess
Lasting no more than a minute, 
Public recall all but ‘perfect’.

Do your thing 
Not just for God and king
But for the joy of self and self-fulfilling.
Dare, share, always there. 
No one really cares but you.
*gig; musician’s jargon for job or engagement.
**bridge; the middle of a song, often called release.

1 comment:

  1. Jerome Kern composed more than 700 songs, especially for use in over 100 stage musicals. He often employed 4/4 dance rhythms, syncopation, and jazz progressions. Nominated 8 times for an Acaey Award, he won twice, in 1936 for "The Way You Look Tonight" (from "Swing Time") and 1941 for "The Last Time I Saw Paris" (from "Lady Be Good"). In 1933 he collaborated with Otto Harbach on "Roberta," which included "Yesterdays."

    Days I knew as happy sweet
    Sequestered days
    Olden days
    Golden days
    Days of mad romance and love
    Then gay youth was mine
    And truth was mine
    Joyous free and flaming life
    Forsooth was mine
    Sad am I
    Glad am I
    For today I'm dreaming of
    Of yesterdays
    Then gay youth was mine
    The truth was mine
    Sad am I
    Glad am I
    For today I'm dreaming of
    Of yesterdays


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