Wednesday, April 7, 2010

rufus harley (5)

for rufus harley
(1936 --2006)

what possessing spirit took u, rufus?
was it patrick mor maccrimmons’shade?
reeking of oolitic loam, the hedgerows
& boggy ground of the winged isle of
skye? did he invade yr dreams, a
speeding bonny boat like birds on the
wing, across time, haunting u with strains
of the big music, the pibroch & the ceòl mòr?
or maybe it was some anonymous egyptian
prodigy, from the courts of isis or ra,
who played the shawm, the folk oboe or
bamboo clarinet. it matters not that trane,
rollins & stitt drove u out of the tenor clan
for u found yr niche & fulfillment, donning
yr macleod tartan kilt, yr nigerian fila (or
any assorted knit hat u chose), tossing the
drones over yr right shoulder & adapting
the unwieldy bagpipes to a soulful post-bop
idiom; playing yrself like one possessed
into the lexicon of modern jazz.

©Joseph McNair;2010

1 comment:

  1. After reading the poem I think that without ever knowing who the musician is that they are like a posessed person when they play. I think that some performers get into their music so much that they are trance like so to an onlooker it looks as thought they are being posessed. The fact that someone could play the bagpipe so well is shocking to me because I have never really liked the bagpipe I usually connect it with scottich music in my head so for someone to play jazz so well with a bagpipe is fascinating to me.