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Birthday Poems

Happy birthday, Mozart -- and Jerry Kern [by DL]

Kern 2

Spring 68 at Columbia was the season of the strike,
the occupation of the buildings (Low, Hamilton, Avery
Mathematics, and Fayerwether where a righteous
mininster married a young couple), and Mitch and I
went to the West End Bar to talk tactics because
we knew the "tactical patrol force" (TPF) was
going to come and hit hard. The days went by
and the arm bands worn by angry students
went from green (amnesty for protesters)
to black (mourning for Alma Mater). But I still
had my Music Humanities final to face and I
was so ignorant I did the only thing I could do:
bought Bach's "Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott,"
Mozart's Jupiter, Beethoven's 3rd, 5th, and 7th,
and Brahms's 4th. On the final the professor
played something we had not heard in class.
It was the slow movement of the 7th.
And that summer in Oxford
I heard the opening of the last movement
of the Jupiter every hour
on the hour. Years later I learned
Mozart's birthday, the 26th of January,
was also that of Kern, Jerry Kern
of Show Boat and Swing Time,
"The Way You Look Tonight"
and "Long Ago And Far Away." So I will just say
to both of these great composers: happy birthday!

January 02, 2023

December 31, 2022

November 01, 2022

September 20, 2022

August 18, 2022

August 17, 2022

August 16, 2022

July 20, 2022

July 04, 2022

June 21, 2022

May 28, 2022

March 25, 2022

March 15, 2022

March 10, 2022

March 01, 2022

December 31, 2021

November 01, 2021

August 21, 2021

July 28, 2021

Best American Poetry Web ad3
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


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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