Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Blues skies, Black History

The sun is shining today, but we have had enough of Winter, and bitter cold, and politics (even though tonight is precinct caucus). February is Black History Month and we've hardly done anything yet to acknowledge that.  In honor of Black History Month then, and our current mood, today is a very good day to let one of our favorite poets speak on our behalf. The photo is a memento from when we helped create the initial web site for what began, several lifetimes ago, as the Greater Twin Cities Blues Society and is now the Minnesota Blues Society.

Blues Hall, Juke Joint

Black History is much more than the Blues, as you no doubt know. The Academy of American Poets offers additional resources to help celebrate Black History Month. The Poetry Foundation provides An Introduction to the Harlem Renaissance. We, right now, are feeling

The Weary Blues

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
     I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
     He did a lazy sway . . .
     He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
     O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
     Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man’s soul.
     O Blues!
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—
     “Ain’t got nobody in all this world,
       Ain’t got nobody but ma self.
       I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’
       And put ma troubles on the shelf.”

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more—
     “I got the Weary Blues
       And I can’t be satisfied.
       Got the Weary Blues
       And can’t be satisfied—
       I ain’t happy no mo’
       And I wish that I had died.”
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.