back to Poems Listen  


Coltrane, Syeeda’s Song Flute

“When I came across it on the piano
it reminded me of her, because it
sounded like a happy child’s song.”

    To Marilyn, to Peter
playing, making things: the walls, the stairs,
the attics, bright nests in nests;
the slow, light, grave unstitching of lies,
opening, stinking, letting in air

you bear yourselves in, become your own mother and father,
your own child.
You lying closer.

You going along. Days.
The strobe-lit wheel stops dead
once, twice in a life: old fashioned rays:

and then all the rest of the time pulls blur,
only you remember it more, playing.

Listening here in the late quiet you can think
great things of us all, I think we will all, Coltrane,
meet speechless and easy in Heaven, our names
known and forgotten, all dearest, all come giant-stepping
out into some wide, light merciful mind . . .

Coltrane, 40, gone
right through the floorboards,
up to the shins, up to the eyes,
closed over,

Syeeda’s happy, child’s song
left up here, playing.

Door in the Mountain: New & Collected Poems