“Footprints” a poem (for Wayne Shorter) by Erren Kelly

March 2nd, 2023

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The poet Erren Kelly, a frequent contributor to  Jerry Jazz Musician,  wrote this poem several years ago.  It still resonates today, on the day of the great saxophonist/composer’s passing.

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photo by Brian McMillen

photo by Brian McMillen

Wayne Shorter at the Greek Theatre; Berkeley, California; 1980

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Footprints
……………..(for Wayne Shorter)

you speak no evil
when you talk about the miles
you traveled, the
way your sax sounded
like a thunderstorm
or spoke like a child
miles always had an ear for
talent, so, it was no surprise
he made lightning strike several
times, first, with trane, then cannonball
then later with dave liebman
but you made heavy weather
all by yourself
as you and jaco pastorious
led the jazz fusion revolution
you let trane’s shadow fall
over you
and became blessed with
the gift of the
gods
even when flight 800 went down
and took your better half
away from you
you took grief,
dipped it in an inkwell
and played healing over several
bars
the buddhists say “suffering
builds character”
you are winter,
every note you played, left behind
footprints of your journey
but still, you have miles to
go

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Erren Kelly

Erren Kelly is a three-time Pushcart nominated poet from Boston whose work has appeared in 300 publications (print and online), including Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine, Ceremony, Cacti Fur, Bitterzoet, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, .and .Poetry Salzburg.

Click here to read “Under Quarantine” — COVID-era poetry of Erren Kelly, published by Jerry Jazz Musician

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Listen to the 1966 recording of Wayne Shorter playing “Footprints,” with Herbie Hancock (piano); Reggie Workman (bass); and Joe Chambers (drums). [Universal Music Group]

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Click here  for information about how to submit your poetry

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One comments on ““Footprints” a poem (for Wayne Shorter) by Erren Kelly”

  1. Mr. Kelly, this is a fine tribute to a great musician. I discovered his work when stationed in the Philippine Islands in 1964. He blew me away. His work with Miles Davis was astonishing. You have done him justice. Well-done.

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