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Saturday, December 08, 2012


by Robert Farmer


To the piano in his own sweet way
on the arm of the conductor,
while the packed-house crowd stood,
sang Happy Birthday through tears.
On his ninetieth, not just another gig.

He pulled us back to festivals
and the 50’s college stands,
our youth now gray throughout,
old ladies in dress circle
dancing again to Take Five.

His chops still simple, straight, lyrical,
no pyrotechnical improvisation.
Our age ordered silence on the solos
as we grazed back through lives
to sounds once lost,
now avengefully heralded
by today’s Downbeat recognition.

The Cleveland Symphony played backup,
then stood and cheered.

Robert Farmer is a retired professor of forest ecology who lives in Cleveland. He occasionally publishes poems in various journals, including New Verse News.