“Harry’s Psalm” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

December 23rd, 2021

.

.

Photo from PxHere/CCO public domain

.

.

 

Harry’s Pslam

In the cold vastness of space without end,
we swirl through time, around the sun,
alone, unknown, unknowable, lonely

collections of stardust, certain we matter,
but vague as to why and how, unable
to prove our value, yet convinced we must

matter, that the matter which forms us
is formed around a ghost within the machine
that is each of us, whether alone or together;

and we pray, we bray like jackasses how unique
we each are, we rant, we rave, we demand
recognition, unable to recognize our connection

to everything else in the known and knowable
universe; we are built from the building blocks
that form all else, but would deny the connection,

seeking connection with the unknowable,
the invisible, the unfathomable, while ignoring
the wonder of our connection with all that exists;

from (star)dust we came, to (star)dust we return,
and we are sister and brother to the glorious beauty
of star, black hole, moon, field, forest, mountain, river,

stream, ocean, plant, insect, mammal, reptile, fish,
and amphibian, as well as the sensuous delight of sound –
bird call, waterfall, wolf howl, symphony, jazz combo,

electric guitar, fiddle, bagpipe, mandolin, bouzouki, sax,
and oud, the roar of ocean’s arrival at shore, the whisper
and murmur of stream, brook, hushed midnight

rainfall, the exhalation of breath as snow falls,
the magnificence of lightning and the wild power of thunder –
all, all, all is each of us, and each of us is all that surrounds us

and abounds throughout all that can be seen and not seen;
yet even with this extraordinary outpouring of which
we are part, we are, in heart and mind, too often alone

and desperate, unwilling to recognize the all that is
in us and the us that is in all we see and imagine.
And all that is tumbles toward the dust which has

formed us all, and calls us back to be reshaped
again and again until there is no longer any stardust
to conjure wild beauty in the midst of the cold void.

.

.

___

.

.

Michael L. Newell’s work appears frequently in Jerry Jazz Musician

He was born in Florida in 1945.  In addition to living in thirteen states, he has lived in Japan, The Philippine Islands, Thailand, The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Mexico, Egypt, Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Bolivia, and Rwanda.  He currently lives in a small town on the Florida coast.

Newell studied writing with Benjamin Saltman and Ann Stanford.  His poems have appeared in a number of periodicals including Aethlon; The Journal of Sport Literature; Bellowing Ark; College English; Current; English Journal; First Class; The Iconoclast; Issa’s Untidy Hut; Jerry Jazz Musician; Lilliput Review; Poetry Depth Quarterly; Rattle; Shemom; Ship of Fools; Tulane Review; and Verse-Virtual.

Some of his previous books include A Stranger to the Land; Seeking Shelter; A Long Time Traveling; Traveling Without Compass or Map; Meditation of an Old Man Standing on a Bridge; Wandering; Each Step a Discovery; and Making My Peace.

.

.

 

The Harry Poems by Michael L. Newell

“Harry’s Psalm” is from Mr. Newell’s new collection of poetry, The Harry Poems (cyberwit.net), a cycle of 116 poems described by author Robert Wexelblatt as “a lifelong project that, poem by poem, builds up a complex and distinct persona who endures life’s trials and undergoes all sorts of moods.  Newell expresses Harry’s unique and trenchant sensibility in verses of many forms, in the precise and condensed diction of poetry.  Taken together, they achieve the scope of a novel.”

The Harry Poems is available on Amazon by clicking here. While there you can find other books of his as well.

.

.

Listen to the 1962 recording of Bill Evans playing “Stairway to the Stars,” with Chuck Israels (bass) and Paul Motian (drums) [Universal Music Group]

.

.

___

.

.

Click here for information about how to submit your poetry

.

.

.

 

Share this:

One comments on ““Harry’s Psalm” — a poem by Michael L. Newell”

  1. Michael L D Newell – I have enjoyed your poetry since the 1980’s. So nice to come across this; and hope to hear more from you soon! Find me. Mary S (NY)

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

painting of Clifford Brown by Paul Lovering
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Spring/Summer, 2024 Edition...In this, the 17th major collection of jazz poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician, 50 poets from all over the world again demonstrate the ongoing influence the music and its associated culture has on their creative lives.

(featuring the art of Paul Lovering)

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
On turning 70, and contemplating the future of Jerry Jazz Musician...

The Sunday Poem

photo via NegativeSpace
“Why I Play Guitar” by C.J. Trotter...

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem

Poetry

“Revival” © Kent Ambler.
If You Want to Go to Heaven, Follow a Songbird – Mary K O’Melveny’s album of poetry and music...While consuming Mary K O’Melveny’s remarkable work in this digital album of poetry, readings and music, readers will discover that she is moved by the mastery of legendary musicians, the wings of a monarch butterfly, the climate and political crisis, the mysteries of space exploration, and by the freedom of jazz music that can lead to what she calls “the magic of the unknown.” (with art by Kent Ambler)

Interview

The Marvelettes/via Wikimedia Commons
Interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow?: An Oral History of the 60’s Girl Groups...Little is known of the lives and challenges many of the young Black women who made up the Girl Groups of the ‘60’s faced while performing during an era rife with racism, sexism, and music industry corruption. The authors discuss their book’s mission to provide the artists an opportunity to voice their experiences so crucial to the evolution of popular music.

Book Excerpt

An excerpt from Emily Jon Tobias’ MONARCH: Stories, and a reflection on our friendship

In Memoriam

photo via Wikimedia Commons
A few words about Willie Mays...Thoughts about the impact Willie Mays had on baseball, and on my life.

Poetry

photo of Earl Hines by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Pianists and Poets – 13 poems devoted to the keys...From “Fatha” Hines to Brad Mehldau, poets open themselves up to their experiences with and reverence for great jazz pianists

Art

photo of Archie Shepp by Giovanni Piesco
The Photographs of Giovanni Piesco: Archie Shepp...photos of the legendary saxophonist (and his rhythm section for the evening), taken at Amsterdam's Bimhuis on May 13, 2001.

Poetry

CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
“On Coltrane: 4th of July Reflections” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published in Jerry Jazz Musician

Calling All Poets!

News about a Jerry Jazz Musician printed jazz poetry anthology, and information about submitting your poetry for consideration

Short Fiction

pickpik.com
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #65 — “Ballad” by Lúcia Leão...The author’s award-winning story is about the power of connections – between father and child, music and art, and the past, present and future.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Interview

photo of Louis Jordan by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 – 1960...Richards makes the case that small group swing players like Illinois Jacquet, Louis Jordan (pictured) and Big Jay McNeely played a legitimate jazz that was a more pleasing listening experience to the Black community than the bebop of Parker, Dizzy, and Monk. It is a fascinating era, filled with major figures and events, and centered on a rigorous debate that continues to this day – is small group swing “real jazz?”

Playlist

photo of Coleman Hawkins by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
“The Naked Jazz Musician” – A playlist by Bob Hecht...As Sonny Rollins has said, “Jazz is about taking risks, pushing boundaries, and challenging the status quo.” Could there be anything riskier—or more boundary-pushing—than to stand naked and perform with nowhere to hide? Bob’s extensive playlist is comprised of such perilous undertakings by an array of notable woodwind and brass masters who have had the confidence and courage (some might say even the exhibitionism) to expose themselves so completely by playing….alone.

Feature

Excerpts from David Rife’s Jazz Fiction: Take Two – Vol. 3: “Louis Armstrong”...A substantial number of novels and stories with jazz music as a component of the story have been published over the years, and the scholar David J. Rife has written short essay/reviews of them. In this third edition featuring excerpts from his book, Rife writes about four novels/short fiction that include stories involving Louis Armstrong.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

The cover of Wayne Shorter's 2018 Blue Note album "Emanon"
Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 20: “Notes on Genius...This edition of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film is written in response to the music of Wayne Shorter.

Click here to read previous editions of Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

In Memoriam

Hans Bernhard (Schnobby), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Remembering Joe Pass: Versatile Jazz Guitar Virtuoso” – by Kenneth Parsons...On the 30th anniversary of the guitarist Joe Pass’ death, Kenneth Parsons reminds readers of his brilliant career

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

Click here to read more book excerpts published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Jazz History Quiz #172

photo of Teddy Wilson by William Gottlieb
Teddy Wilson once said this about a fellow jazz pianist:

“That man had the most phenomenal musical gifts I’ve ever heard. He was miraculous. It’s like someone hitting a home run every time he picks up a bat. We became such fast friends that I was allowed to interrupt him anytime he was playing at the house parties in Toledo we used to make every night. When I asked him, he would stop and replay a passage very slowly, showing me the fingering on some of those runs of his. You just couldn’t figure them out by ear at the tempo he played them.”

Who is the pianist he is describing?

Community

photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work

Coming Soon

An interview with Larry Tye, author of The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America; an interview with James Kaplan, author of 3 Shades of Blue: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool; A new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Ella Fitzgerald/IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Click to view the complete 25-year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Judith Tick on Ella Fitzgerald (pictured),; Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz on the Girl Groups of the 60's; Tad Richards on Small Group Swing; Stephanie Stein Crease on Chick Webb; Brent Hayes Edwards on Henry Threadgill; Richard Koloda on Albert Ayler; Glenn Mott on Stanley Crouch; Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake; Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

Site Archive