Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 6, 2016.
About this Poem 

“John William ‘Blind’ Boone was one of the most successful pianists of his time. His motto, ‘Merit, not sympathy, wins’ guided his path through music and life. The haiku here are labeled with the notes of Pentatonic Blues in C.”
—Tyehimba Jess

Blind Boone’s Apparitions

John William Boone (1864-1927) world-renowned Ragtime                pianist.

C

my motto for life

                      - merit, not sympathy, wins-

                                              my song against death.

E♭

i stroke piano’s

                           eighty eight mouths. each one sings

                                        hot colors of joy

                                                                                                 F

                                                                                     pentatonic black

                                                                 keys raise up high into bliss,

                                                 born to sing my name

                       F#

                    whippoorwill, hawk, crow

                                   sing madrigals for blind men.

                    forests blooms through each note.


                                   G

                               my eyes: buried deep

                                             beneath earth’s skin. my vision

                               begins in her womb.


                             B♭

                         darkness sounds like God

                                             flowering from earth's molten tomb...

                         writhed wind. chorded cries.

C

rain, flower, sea, wind

           map my dark horizon. i

                                              inhale earth’s songbook

 

Copyright © 2016 by Tyehimba Jess. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 6, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Tyehimba Jess. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 6, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.