Scales

We seem to be edging forward towards a kind of normality. I had not foreseen that the second lockdown would snuff out the usual winter ‘flu epidemic, so that the NHS has coped much better through January and February than we might have dared to hope.

Here is a poem about learning to play a musical instrument, and about the mystery of creativity. I was thinking about Miles Davis and his masterpiece Kind of Blue, the last word in sophistication, which somehow went on to become the best selling Jazz LP of all time. How and where did that come from? And every musician is playing at the height of his powers. Not a quantum leap. Not quite out of nowhere. A miracle.

SCALES
(Don't play what's there, play what's not there - Miles Davis)

Correspondences 
not exact but tenacious.
The quarrel with noise.
Difficulties with breathing and tone.
Consummations of a sort,
phrases joining together
not quite matched.
Found melody
ear unexpectedly attuned.
Realisation
that belonging's a temporary thing
like renting a room.
Need to unlearn
start elsewhere.

Exercises, hour after hour,
intervals, semitones, scales;
silver beneath stretched fingers
streaming away from intent.
Finding their way into dreams
from the edge of sleep,
misspoken message 
token 
      of what's not there.
  
                   
                   

Published by davidcookpoet

I am a husband, father and grandfather. I retired from a busy working life as an adult psychiatrist in 2014. My interests are in literature, philosophy, modern jazz and horse racing. I might represent those four fields by Shakespeare, Kant, Charlie Parker and Lester Piggott. Like nearly all of us, I can identify a number of formative experiences, one of which was a psychotic episode in my first year as a psychiatrist. This reinforced an already established interest in mystical experience, and a sense of how little human beings know. My intellectual bugbear is reductive materialism, and I am surprised at the lack of moral imagination of those who promulgate such views. It seems to me they need to consider ,perhaps by exposure, just why totalitarianism is so horrific.

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