Tuesday, June 2, 2009

for edward K "duke" ellington

remembering edward kennedy
"duke" ellington


a duke, from latin dux, is nobly born,
of highest rank & rules his own demesne.
& edward k. so ruled a realm of horn
& reed & voice; of improvised refrain,
perambulating bass & lofty drum --
the big band –- unforgiving crucible
of harmony, addiction & then some.
an alchemist, his music fluxed them all;
reduced the mystery of being black
to fresh new amalgams of brass & wind
& mellow tones. he launched an air attack,
a thaumaturgic grace, to charm & fend
off anomie; his music helped explain
the existential paradox of pain.

©Joseph McNair; 2008

1 comment:

  1. Sir duke in a sonnet. How fitting for one of Jazz's most royal of royalties. I heard he even had his drugs administered by a doctor. The poem is a good one, though. Fitting.