Poetry by Alan Patterson

June 5th, 2014



by Alan Patterson

His Voice
crying in the wilderness
sighing, screeching, singing,
of soul secrets and sufferings
stark, silent sound
invoking Heaven’s muse
and Purgatory’s cleansing fire.

Who, speaking in toungues
created new language
who captured Eternity’s essence
with every note he played
who God breathed through
so gently, so fully.
Whose music made the spirit dance
and the soul sing.
Who crystalized Heaven’s silent tears
in prayerful psalm-like playing.

‘Trane blowing sweet and sour sounds
as Elvin Jones nails beat down
an orchestra of percussion
propelling muse onward
with sharp, cymbal-snake rattle
and fills of falling hailstones-snaredrum.
Jimmy Garrison plucks melody on bass –
soul-throb anchor grounds the sound
for night flight tenor squeal-sigh solo
while chords cascade like ever-present
from McCoy Tyner’s softly steady piano
gently drifting downward until,
unnoticed, they embrace then dissolve
into concrete ground of complete sound.

conveyed through
prayerful wild abandon

serenity and suffering
joy and pathos
harmony and dissonance
peace and anger

At times
frantic and frenzied
rushes of exclamations
defying expectations
“sheets of sound”
twisting notes inward upon themselves
wrapping sound around sound around sound
until all semblance of structure
in chaotic exhaustion
as pure unfiltered emotion
from somewhere deep beneath
ordinary consciousness
communicating the very root of it all
came tumbling out of the torrents of sound
overflowing with feeling
momentary connection of beyond
understanding –
a shrieking siren song from the soul.

At times
liquidly lyrical
romantically rhapsodizing
gentle sigh of joy/love/gladness
heartbeat hymn
too breathtakingly beautiful
for words to capture
just a sad sweet serenade
floating freely
in the timeless serene eternity
of A Love Supreme.


Alan Patterson introduces himself, and talked about his poem.


I was raised in Medfield MA by Jim and Betty Patterson, my two loving parents. I have an older brother David, who was a great influence on my future love of music and sports, two older sisters, Gail and Nanci and a younger sister Bonnie. We were a fairly close-knit family and still are today, I’m happy to say, and I had a childhood that was, over-all, pretty happy. I currently reside in Brighton MA.


On the day I was born, April 6, 1964 – the number one song in the US was The Beatles – “Can’t Buy Me Love” – their having just conquered America that February on their historic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. As I said, thanks in large part to my older brother’s influence, my two main interests as I was growing up became music and sports (I am a proud member of Red Sox Nation and also love the other Boston sports teams) and I also really enjoyed reading and writing as a youngster. Some of my favorite authors are Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Blake and Jack Kerouac.

In this poem, I attempted to convey in my own words, my feelings when I listen to Coltrane’s music. I believe Coltrane strove to express in his music his worship of a loving and powerful God, who sustains us daily. His masterpiece, A Love Supreme remains one of the greatest musical testaments in that vein.

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8 comments on “Poetry by Alan Patterson”

  1. Patterson’s poem mimes the sound of ‘Train, the soul. Remarkable, because I can hear the music as I read the poem.

    Paul Borgman, professor of English

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