Monday, April 23, 2012

As he bummed a cigarette

Inspired by "Midnight in Paris" I've started to read Enest Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" and boy does Gertrude Stein sound like a bundle of laughs. One of those terrible fantasies imagine being invited to tea with Gertrude and Alice? Hemingway observes that " there were almost never any pauses in a conversation with Miss Stein".

She collected a lot of art, but I don't know if she ever met Sidney Bechet . However Philip Larkin wrote this poem
For Sidney Bechet

That note you hold, narrowing and rising, shakes
Like New Orleans reflected on the water,
And in all ears appropriate falsehood wakes,

Building for some a legendary Quarter
Of balconies, flower-baskets and quadrilles,
Everyone making love and going shares--

Oh, play that thing! Mute glorious Storyvilles
Others may license, grouping around their chairs
Sporting-house girls like circus tigers (priced

Far above rubies) to pretend their fads,
While scholars manqués nod around unnoticed
Wrapped up in personnels like old plaids.

On me your voice falls as they say love should,
Like an enormous yes.  My Crescent City
Is where your speech alone is understood,

And greeted as the natural noise of good,
Scattering long-haired grief and scored pity.

My sister Kath saw Bechet play at the Birmingham Town Hall but she missed "Si tu vois ma mere"
she had to slip out to smoke a Senior Service.

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