Tuesday, June 2, 2009

for eric dolphy

remembering eric dolphy
(1928 - 1964)

when the tired sun lies beneath
the horizon, from sunset to sun
rise; tween dusk & fragrant dawn,
a nightbird cries, his song elegiac
but beautiful

covering wide open intervals of
a twelve tone scale; rich in grief
but sensibly met. a freed tonality
putting schoenburg to shame,
but beautiful

deliciously multiphonic, an often
muted, muffled, breathy sound
abruptly screeching into double
timed runs all over the registers,
but beautiful

not unlike eric dolphy, so tall, so
talented, so tragic, his genius, torn
from youth like blooms from buds
in spring his impact huge,
but beautiful

like a shooting star falling to earth
& burning up, his life was heaven
sent – a blessing – a short, brilliant
coda ending on a dark, woody note…
& beautiful

©Joseph McNair; 2008


  1. great work professor it reminds me of ode to a star, by Pablo Neruda.

  2. Dolphy left an indelible mark on the music for one whose stay was so short. a great poem

  3. Men of brilliance exist for so short a time like a star in the night sky that shines too bright; it shines and lights but soon time will take it away to hide it as a treasure under a pillow like a little boy keeping his treasure hidden.