Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Blue Train

Blue Train
To John Coltrane

I heard your blue train traveling by, coolly
As fresh waters of a brook...a cloudless aquamarine sky...
Rhythmic, not marching but a shuffle or a two-step,
Syncopated...bass, undulating river;
Cymbals, soft rain, silver pom-poms shaking;
Saxophone, lead, a composer ad hoc
Declaring a theme one way then another;
Counterpoint, trumpet, sharp, blending;
Piano, lively, solo, answering, dueling with the brass;
Saxophone, brightly, opening doors, closing them,
Mixing it up...wheels slowing, whistle blowing;
Dodging, weaving, a boxer, in and out...drums.

Originally published in Cacti Fur (October 19, 2016)

Blue train, South Africa


  1. Photo Courtesy of 2010 World Cup - Shine 2010

    Photo link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Logo_of_Blue_Train.jpg


  2. Long version of this poem:

    To John Coltrane

    I listened to your blue train sauntering by...
    Rhythmic, not marching but the two-step
    Of a bird in a courtship dance, switching feet...
    Coolly, fresh waters of a brook...cloudless cobalt blue sky...
    Curling stone sliding, deep diver gliding...
    Bass, low rumble of savannah elephants;
    Cymbals, soft rain, silver pom-poms;
    Saxophone, lead, flashing a deck of cards;
    Trumpet, sharp, blending harmonies;
    Piano, lively, dueling with the brass;
    Saxophone, once more, announcing a theme one way,
    Declaring it another, opening, closing doors...
    Approaching the station...wheels slowing, whistle blowing...
    Weaving in and out, a boxer feints, dodges, scores—drums.


  3. Blue Train by John Coltrane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpZHUVjQydI