Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 4: “Maiden Voyage”

February 25th, 2022

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Trading Fours with Douglas Cole is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film

 

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The cover of Herbie Hancock’s 1965 album Maiden Voyage

Herbie Hancock's 1965 album "Maiden Voyage"

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Maiden Voyage

Set forth beautiful one
open sea and open sky
as far as your eye can see
full wind filling the sails
pushing those hesitant steps
three at a time before
the cymbal crash of wave

bell buoys ringing
clear in the breaker spray
gulls jaunting off the fantail
up in dazzling rapid-fire flight
as we slide into swirling lulling
warm ocean ripple breeze
music from an inside horizon

And what you see out there
as if prepared to meet you
like pelicans descending
in black whole notes
on score of sky so you say
this summer will last forever
code music for invisible doors
through which you can walk
onto deck face forward

And where you’re going
good like-minded souls
welcome you with fire
and feasts on a golden shore
where you’d love to stay but
a luring trumpet call urge to go
and never cease from exploration
hints at radical arrangements
and aspirations you must follow

The seafarer’s song
whipped into taut time
tide roll and wind speed
flowing into rose clouds
thin as rigging lines

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Listen to Douglas Cole read this poem

 

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Listen to the 1965 recording of Herbie Hancock playing “Maiden Voyage” [Blue Note/Universal]

 

 

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photo by Jenn Merritt

Douglas Cole has published six collections of poetry and The White Field, winner of the American Fiction Award. His work has appeared in several anthologies as well as journals such as The Chicago Quarterly Review, Poetry International, The Galway Review, Bitter Oleander, Chiron, Louisiana Literature, Slipstream, as well Spanish translations of work (translated by Maria Del Castillo Sucerquia) in La Cabra Montes. He is a regular contributor to Mythaixs, an online journal, where in addition to his fiction and essays, his interviews with notable writers, artists and musicians such as Daniel Wallace (Big Fish), Darcy Steinke (Suicide Blond, Flash Count Diary) and Tim Reynolds (T3 and The Dave Matthews Band) have been popular contributions. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart and Best of the Net and received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry. He lives and teaches in Seattle, Washington. Click here to visit his website. 

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