“An Enormous Yes”


The parade sound wafting from the sidewalk Monday morning is Sidney Bechet on soprano sax playing “Maple Leaf Rag.” Click on the video above to hear.

For Sidney Bechet

by Philip Larkin

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.

1 thought on ““An Enormous Yes”

  1. Great music! Thanks! He was smart enough to get out of this racist ****hole and live in France–not so great there either, of course. Here’s one of my favorites. It not only features up front his heavenly vibrato style but watching the video is almost like taking a vacation in Antibes without all the fuss of travel! 😀 (Lots of white people having fun. In the last but one scene, I get a kick out of the way those women sitting on the bench reading relate to each other and that suspicious one on the left, how she regards the person taking the video.)

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