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Birthday Poems

On George Gershwin's Birthday [by David Lehman]

George Gershwin

On George Gershwin’s birthday
I keep expecting them to play
Rhapsody in BlueAn American in Paris,
the Cuban Overture,  the Concerto in F,
Porgy and Bess as played by Miles Davis,
but no, all day it’s been Dvorak, Grieg,
Rimsky-Korsakov, and other worthies
not born today, Elgar for heaven’s sake;
at least they could give us some Debussy,
as didn’t "they" (such a useful pronoun)
criticize him for imitating Debussy,
or Ravel, who declined to give George lessons
saying, “Why become a second-rate Ravel
when you’re already a first-rate Gershwin?”

-- DL

September 30, 2023

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August 15, 2023

July 20, 2023

June 21, 2023

June 13, 2023

June 09, 2023

June 07, 2023

May 15, 2023

February 27, 2023

February 21, 2023

January 26, 2023

January 02, 2023

January 01, 2023

November 01, 2022

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That Ship Has Sailed
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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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