The Sunday Poem: Don McIver... A Love Supreme

Poet Don McIver continues his poetic meditations on the classic jazz scene.  John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" was recorded in December of 1964--three years before his death, from liver cancer, at age 40.

Don McIver, whose work has inspired the Duke City for decades, wrote this piece just days ago.    A YouTube video of 'Trane accompanies the poem.

A Love Supreme

                    --for St. John

I’ll apologize upfront,
but I meant to start this poem before you got to “Psalms”
so I could sit back and let your notes wash over me,
cleanse me.
Cause I’m in need of cleansing,
but this damn PC wouldn’t boot up,
and I’m tapping this out in time to Jimmy Garrison’s’ bass solo,
oh those strings as then he slides right into you…and “Psalms.’
Long languid notes with Elvin Jones hitting the gong as you come in.
I meant to be done by now,
but the words are being summoned,called forth.
and I apologize that liver cancer has come up twice this week
and both times they referenced someone who died many years ago.
I hope that my not achieving any great heights at 40 (a few years back)
means I will have a long and peaceful life.
In my mind that makes sense…
You lived as long as you needed to and left us with
A Love Supreme.
And I’ll apologize I won’t be anywhere near this platter when Christmas rolls around
and won’t be able to really celebrate,
honor my tradition by listening to this instead of that.
I’ll be camping,
which may surprise you, but even now I’m sitting in my house,
door flung open marveling at how warm it is.
I want it to be cold; I want long dark nights.
Fire crackling in the stove as we are merry listening to A Love Supreme.
“Supreme, supreme.”
I know it’s a meditation, a psalm of praise, a shout cast out into the universe
and everything we hope to be.
I’ll apologize now that this poem doesn’t quite reach the heights your music took me to,
maybe language never will.

                    November 30, 2012

Poetry submissions are welcome.   Email

Views: 266

Comment by Margaret Randall on December 2, 2012 at 8:47am

Writing about music, like writing about art, and always wondering if the words embody the other genre... a constant challenge for poets. But this poem gives us the music, the memories, and also powerful words. Thank you!

Comment by Don McIver on December 2, 2012 at 9:37am

Thank you Margaret.  Your ceaseless encouragement is most welcome.


Comment by The DitchRider on December 2, 2012 at 11:16am

And a great comment Aaron!  I sincerely hope you can recreate it.

Comment by Greg Smith on December 3, 2012 at 8:47am

As Frank Zappa said "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture" good poem about sublime sounds.

Comment by Don McIver on December 5, 2012 at 3:01pm

R.I.P.  Dave Brubeck (December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012).


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