Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: The Sound of Blues

There is something about blues that strums at the heartstrings and creates a tune of life with all its myriad notes and rhythms. I have been in love with the sound of blues since my teens when I would shut myself in my room for evenings and listen enraptured to the musical mastery of Billie Holiday, B.B. King, Nina Simone, Ray Charles, et al. One of the best poets who emulated the essence of blues in his work, I think, is Langston Hughes. His poetics resounded with music, politics, love, and dreams all at once in a symphony which sets in the soul like a beautiful blues song.

The Weary Blues

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway. . . .
He did a lazy sway. . . .
To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man’s soul.
O Blues!
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—
“Ain’t got nobody in all this world,
Ain’t got nobody but ma self.
I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’
And put ma troubles on the shelf.”

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more—
“I got the Weary Blues
And I can’t be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can’t be satisfied—
I ain’t happy no mo’
And I wish that I had died.”
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.

Langston Hughes, “The Weary Blues” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes.

Good day, poets! This is Anmol (alias HA) and I welcome you all to another wonderful week at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. For The Tuesday Platform, share a link to a poem, old or new, in the linking widget down below. Let's enjoy the sound of blues as we read the many diverse poems and share our thoughtful words on each others' posts. I look forward to seeing you all on the trail!


Jim said...

Excellent choice, Anmol. It reminds me of New Orleans, Bourbon Street and just around the corner. Preservation Hall. I could die there, "And I wish that I had died.”

Today is Mardi Grass, Au sane ('to your health,' a toast.)

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thank you, Anmol. I just happen to have a notebook version of one of my archived poems which is in keeping with your theme today.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Ha. Excellent theme, Anmol. I went way back to 2002. Thanks for hosting.

Fireblossom said...

LOVE both Hughes and Etta!

Magaly Guerrero said...

I'm right with you, Anmol, in totally loving Blues. I know all music (all right, most music) is rather poetic. But Blues... Blues feel like poetry with music added to it. Also, I love how most songs in the genre tell a story.

Thank you for hosting... and for sharing such yummy words.

robkistner said...

Love this prompt Anmol. I posted a link to a poem I wrote about the blues back in 2007. It used to have a recording of me reading the poem linked to it, but the recording is now lost in the cyberspheer somewhere?

brudberg said...

Anmol, I would have liked to link up something, but it's soon bedtime so I will probably just do some reading.

Susie Clevenger said...

Oh goodness, I do love the blues. Hope everyone has a great week!!

Frank J. Tassone said...

Evening, Toads! Thanks, Anmol!

Kim M. Russell said...

I apologise for arriving a day late and not writing to the theme, Anmol, but I’ve been trying to catch up after returning from a visit to my daughter, where I spent some quality time with my grandson, who is one today, but also a scary time on Sunday when we ended up in A&E at the local hospital, where he was diagnosed with tonsillitis. I haven’t caught up yet but I’m getting there slowly!

My favourite version of that song is by Ruby Turner; I heard her sing it live at The South Bank in London when my daughter was four or five years old. I also enjoyed the Langston Hughes poem.

Anmol (HA) said...

@Jim Thanks, Jim! I am glad that the bluesy mood acted as a reminder for you. :-)

Anmol (HA) said...

@Kerry That was great, Kerry! Your illustration adds to the depth of your written word. :-)

Anmol (HA) said...

@Sherry Loved your poem as it reinforced that there are so many things worth loving in this world. :-)

Anmol (HA) said...

@Magaly Yay! I love how you define the blues as a wonderful amalgamation of poetry and music. Thanks for linking in this week!

@Fireblossom ME too! :-)

Anmol (HA) said...

@Bjorn Thanks for dropping by! I understand — your words are always cherished, Bjorn! :-)

@Rob Sorry about the recording! I really enjoyed your bluesy tale.

Anmol (HA) said...

@Kim I am glad that you linked in, Kim! Of course, it wasn't a requirement to write to the theme. I am sorry about the health scare. I hope the kiddo gets well soon. :-)