Many Ruba’i – Jazz


February 7, 2019 by petrujviljoen

piano, bass and drum, adrift, afloat;
a melody, spoken softly – chest notes –
the sax, unable to hold back, screamed. High
enough to wake the dead, the still poet

the cat, cool, dons his sunglasses, steps up
to the double bass, starts twanging Be-Bob.
Gillespie’s ghost hovers in the blue haze.
We listen, passing spliffs rolled from the cob*

*Called Malawi Gold, from that country, packed tightly, decoratively, in dried leaves of the mealie plant.

A note? A set? Which shut us up amid
laughter and chit-chat-blah so, God forbid,
we should miss the riff – sound, falling like light
on not only the ear, but the whole grid

jazz, most democratic of all music!
The solo, that impulsive runic,
plays out, picked up by another, plays out
taken up with sound – a different rubic

jazz, nothing but a schooled intuition
guessing – no, no grappling for an in.
The din of the drum rolls in rhythms
to the sonic soar of the violin

the drum scatters under the keening sax
honty tonk piano repeats the pax
with the bass guitar, sliding to nowhere
who talks of rescue? No paying no tax.

whisky, a double tot, in my coffee
wind and ganja in my hair – ain’t funny
seeing the dude, the man, sat me down,
expectin’ – but I left him. Me harpy

I was inspired by Jim Feeny’s jazz notes and hope I did the idea justice.

More rubaiyat for the form poetry month of the Persian form, the Ruba’i (singular) or Rubaiyat (plural). Mine’s a string of singular quatrains. I gave up on the iambic pentameter – one does when one does jazz – but hope for a sort of rhythm (and insight).

I’ll link to Dverse’s Open Link Night and to the form poetry’s site on invitation. Already have two up.


52 thoughts on “Many Ruba’i – Jazz

  1. All that jazz. Runic and rubric. schooled intuition. Good. But so is other music. There’s the classical, written by one artist, played by another, lives apart. The singer/songwriter with her poems punctuated by sounds. These can be listened to anywhere. But jazz has a scene—you got that here—the good stuff brings that, the sights and tastes, the grit and grime, with it where ever it’s listened too.

  2. It is rhythmic, jazzy even, and so full of energy. To be perfectly honest I hate jazz. I’d much rather read your poem about it than listen to the stuff 🙂

    • I’ll try and understand you hating jazz – we’re all different! Thanks for liking the poetry!

      • I won’t try and explain why I don’t like it, but it’s a similar reason to why I don’t like a lot of modern poetry.

        • I think I understand the comparison. I love classical music, favourites Bach, Rachmaninov, some Rock’nRoll, then The Blues/Jazz. How’s that for identity?

        • Back and Rachmaninov? That’s eclectic. Classical from Mozart to Elgar, Holst, Puccini, beginning of the twentieth century, some rock (no roll) some jazz composers like Jerome Kern and Gershwin, soul and Tamla. That’s about my limit. That interminable drum solo stuff in smoke filled dives is not my idea of fun.

  3. jillys2016 says:

    Jazz is life – from this jazz lover – this just rolls and spills and bops! Love it!

  4. Jules says:

    Ah… Jazz – your verse is a good voice for this music.
    Sometimes I like instrumentals, but some vocals are ‘cool’ too. 🙂

  5. qbit says:

    Really liked “chest notes“. Perfect.

  6. Gina says:

    the energy in your rubaiyat is contagious!

  7. I felt like I was back at the Village Gate in 1990! Excellent!

  8. Nora says:

    I can hear the scat in your meter. Gillespie’s ghost! This is fabulous, Petru – you’ve captured some improv spirit here.

  9. Robert D says:

    Wonderful. I had a bit of trouble reading it due to having poor eyesight, but I am glad I took the time. It transported me back to playing bass in college with a couple of friends who liked to improvise blues music.

  10. kim881 says:

    I love your string of singular quatrains!
    From the lower case
    to the slant rhymes, sax and double bass,
    the cool cat with the shades,
    Gillespie’s ghost hovering in the blue haze.
    Pass me the Malawi gold spliff
    and I’ll join in with this jazzy riff!

  11. memadtwo says:

    Wonderful from start to finish. The rhythm is perfect for jazz too. (K)

  12. rivrvlogr says:

    Nice. I could see the smoke and feel the notes, pulsing.

  13. rothpoetry says:

    You must be a Jazz man! I liked your line, Jazz is the most democratic music… Everything in synch and blending together! Love the imagery!

  14. Frank Hubeny says:

    I like the sound of these two lines especially: “guessing – no, no grappling for an in.
    The din of the drum rolls in rhythms” The “in” and “din” tie them together.

  15. susanmehr says:

    I could hear the music as I read the poetry. Beautiful.

  16. Mish says:

    I enjoyed the sharp phrases that carried the beat. The changes in the meter were perfect for the jazz theme. Nice!

  17. msjadeli says:

    you painted a scene here, a very cool scene, of a jazz jam session. love it!

  18. Beautiful tribute. I loved all the descriptions.

  19. Grace says:

    Love the music-inspired rubaiyat. The sounds are rich – din, honky tonk, guitar.

  20. sanaarizvi says:

    This is lovely! ❤️ I love the way you have incorporated jazz in this poem 🙂

  21. sdtp33 says:

    this is brilliant, Petru, reads like jazz and smells of ganja, booze and coffee…JIM

  22. nannus says:

    You need a composer to write the right tune for this

  23. Felt like, I was standing in a jazz club of the 1950s or 1960s, with the gentle rhythm of your words beating against the skin of my soul.

  24. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Le Jazz hot–incredible piece. You blasted such cool at us that the form was invisible–and your subtle rhymes did not distract. The poetics are a hip set, complete with its contractions and expansions. That and the insights into jazz, performing and conjuring; remarkable.

  25. I love the way you have putt the jazz in poem… such fun with all the music… sounds like a wonderful place to be.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Available on Amazon

Available at

As the World Burns

Available at


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or any part of this material without express and written permission from myself is strictly prohibited.

%d bloggers like this: