Mister Red Shift

Sitting here watching a science program about the next biggest telescope ever built.  To come out in 2018, it’s called the James Webb telescope.  Reminded about a poem I wrote in 2001 called Mister Red Shift, when I was captivated by by the most distant light then available: the red shift.
And now we’re planning to see even further.

Mister Red Shift

The core relationship I have
Is with you, Mister Shift –
Mister Red beyond the skies
At heaven’s end,
Beyond the stars and galaxies,
The disembodied substances
Whose silence is a dearest friend,
And furthest, cosmic-nearest friend
Whose essence never shifts.

Mister Red Shift 6.5.2001
Circling Round Nature; Nature In & Of Reality; To The Child Mystic; Revelations Big & Small; Circling Round Science;
Arlene Corwin

The Noble Prize

The Noble Prize, yes, Noble

This has been Nobel Prize week in Sweden.  I don’t know what to compare it to.  As big as Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July…The entire week is taken up on radio and television with Nobel.  One learns about and from the prize winners inside and out.  They’re interviewed constantly.  They have a wonderful television seminar where they’re asked everything and  give their points of view about everything.  These are ordinary, yet great, great men.   Men with matchless focus, peerless perseverance.  Stick-to-it-ness that out does stick-to-it-ness.  30 years, 40 years  they wait – and work.  Bless them.

In December 2001 I wrote the following:

  The Noble Prize

Somewhere exists a noble prize –

An all-eternal prize:

A special type

Without the hype,

Where thought and motive –

Tripped from mind to fingertip,

From pencil scratch and paperclip,

Bind up the un-read whole.

A noble prize

For those who never published.

Those open-pipe, sagacious fools

Who, being tools,

Kept at one thing

By rolling out the scroll

To lengths

Immeasurably long;

Withdrawing ego-hand control,

And finding substance in a song

That never reached a critic’s blows,

But sensing something there that knows

Endeavor’s beauty

And rewards it.

The Noble Prize 12 10.2001

In 2015 I tinkered it to this:

             The Noble Prize #2

Somewhere exists a noble prize.

An all-eternal, special type

Without the hype,

Where thought and motive tripped

From mind and fingertip,

To pencil scratch and paperclip,

Bind the un-read whole.

A noble prize

For those

Who, never published,

Open-piped, sagacious fools

Becoming tools, keep at one thing

By rolling out a scroll

To lengths immeasurably long,

Withdrawing ego-hand control,

Find substance in a song

That never reach a critic’s blows, (or nose or rose)

But sensing something there that knows

The beauty of endeavor

Reimbursing time.

The Noble Prize 12 10.2001/revised 10.12.2015

The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative; The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative, II;

Arlene Corwin

I Love Talent


I love talent!

I just love talent!

Talent is an ace,

A grace –

A freebee,


Something that you get for nothing;

Something that’s a bank, a chest

Of treasures

And a toolbox all-in-one.

What next, and

How to reach it,

Find and turn it

From a talent

To a skill? Still more,

Teach it

How to be its best?


Talent’s quest as guest of soul:

Soul butler and handmaiden.

I love toiled refinement

And the balance of alignment;

Risk of pain,

Of world’s disdain:

A talent in itself –

And I love talent.


I love Talent 8.17.2001(revised 9.25.2015)

Special People Special Occasions; The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative;

Arlene Corwin




From A God’s-Eye Point Of View

From A God’s-Eye Point Of View


From a God’s-eye point of view

I watch and see

And make no judgment –

Nothing that would damn.

It’s all a blessing:

Schemer, cheat:

The energy.

The sheep who bleat within the arts

Without the talent in their parts:

The energy.

I love it all.

I watch them climb.

I watch them fall —

I even love the climber’s fall.

To hear a singer who can’t sing,

Attempt to sing;

A politick that doesn’t tick,

Can never tick –

The politician’s game and trick;

The planetary shift of coin

From poor to rich, from rich to poor;

I join the stitch that joins the poor.

The amateur, professional;

The sad, bad, glad mad, fad attempts

That link it all –

I like it all.

It gets my whole approval.

Not the quality or quantity,

But energy; the haul,

The long haul and beyond.


We’re bonded.

All the actors, all the acts,

All the tactless, misjudged pacts;

We’re glued,

When viewed

From God’s objective eye.


From A God’s-Eye Point Of View 1.5.2001

To The Child Mystic; God Book;

Arlene Corwin



God Push-ups 2001/2013

God Push-Ups

“Good morning, God”,

She says, while sitting on the step

Outside the house, eating her meusli.

“Plan my day! No,

Let me carry out

The plan You made before the suns!

No, make it clearer to me,

Let me be


I mean, let me go up a step or two

With energy or clarity –

Or both.”

Is this to be a day

Self-disciplined, constructive,

Or is it to be a vagrant day,

A turgid brain,

A day of sloth?

Good morning, God.

You know already;

It’s been planned.

Let this anomalously baby-wish

Make me somebody’s helping hand.


You don’t need help.


They’re in the plan as well.

Mine, my own?

Well, maybe, since I too am programmed.

Everyone needs push-ups.”

God Push-ups 7.3.2001/3.20.2013

To The Child Mystic; God Book;

Arlene Corwin

I’ve No Beginning Nor An End

I’ve No Beginning Nor An End

I’ve no beginning or an end:

I will convince myself of this –

It is so logical to me;

And yet I fear as others fear –

The ones to whom it has no logic.  Yes,

I have – as all the others –

The Great Fear.

(You know the one I mean,

The one where I’m no longer here)

Which I must work away.

No beginning and no end:

It is so logical to me.

The mind goes back-through day on day.

I feel my way to no-beginning.

Why then, do I struggle forward,

Fight for life,

The little grain of planet sand,

This microscopic grain of sand

That is an I

In universe that is,

That will itself not die?

With no beginning and no end

One should exhilarate, not cry,

Not plague oneself with questions, dry

And fruitless.

One should kiss

An eye for eye

And say yes almost all the time.

I’ve No Beginning Nor An End 12.30.2001

Birth, Death & In Between; I Is Always You Is We;

Arlene Corwin

I Love Talent 2001

I Love Talent


I love talent!

I just love talent!

Talent is a grace, an ace –

A freebee: blessing,

Something that you get for nothing;

Something that’s a bank, a chest,

A toolbox/treasure all-in-one.

How to leach it, turn it

From a talent to a skill;

Tease it, teach it

How to be its best,

A handmaiden

And guest of soul.

Toil at the risk of pain,

Refinement but

The world’s disdain

Align themselves

In talent,

And I love talent.


I Love Talent 8.17.2001

Special People Special Occasions;

The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative;

Arlene Corwin












































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































And the balance of alignment

Of the quester

Who risks pain of world disdain


My Middle Name Is Faith 2001 2004

         My Middle Name Is Faith

It’s not that I don’t like it,

It’s that I’ve not yet embraced it,

Happening as it does, or seems

To do, so quickly overnight.

A process that I still don’t understand – not quite.

An age, the wrong side of the wrong side;

Stronger, weaker, ripened, mellow;

Still a seeker; seasoned fellow

Still preparing.

There are signs of maturation,

Both the rotting and the sprouting,

Yet the outer still concerns me:

Hanging, wrinkling, liver spots,

Graying hair and graying grin,

Growths like grain,

Red blotches, blots

Of pigment loss on what was porcelain;

Dropping off, a muted snore,

Dryness in the privates sore;

Swellings, shrinkings, pills galore –

Costing more

Than they are worth.

It comes so quickly, or it seems to –

Deficits and extra needs

In karmic keeping with the deeds.

Still, it fosters going inwards,

Digging deeper, hunting it;

Hunting something fall- and spring-less,


In its self.

My middle name is faith.

©My Middle Name Is Faith 4.19.2001 2.5.2004

Circling Round Woman; Time; Circling Round Nature;

Birth, Death & In Between; Circling Round Wrinkles;  Arlene Corwin




Open-Ended Autobiography


Arlene Corwin’s Poetry

Just another WordPress.com weblog


Arlene Corwin’s Open-Ended Biography

(10.3.2007 updated 10.24.2007 updated 1.3.2008; updated December 15, 2009, October 2010 )

Arlene Corwin (born Arlene Faith Nover) is an American jazz singer and pianist, poet, teacher and practitioner of Yoga. Born November 8, 1934 in the Williamsburg Maternity Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. She has two children. Jonathan Eric Corwin (born July 24. 1956 and) Jennifer Nover Council (born February 2, 1964). Mother Margy Lillian (born Brown). Father Albert S. Nover. Both were hairdressers, owning a beauty salon together. Everyone was musical on both sides of the family.Mother sang, could play some piano. Father was a gifted sculptor and wood carver, played a little harmonica and mandolin. The family is Jewish.

Early Life
Started studying piano age 8. Studied voice at the famous 1650 Broadway with ‘coach’ Matty Levine. Did a little recording at aged 10 in Nola Studios. (The record has since disappeared) At 12 she started studying harp with Meyer Rosen (Julliard and NBC Orchestra) and the occasional piano lesson with an NBC pianist who taught her how to read chord changes, seeing at once that she was not interested in learning classical piano.

As a child she had already sung at weddings, bar mitzvahs and for the USO, raising bonds for the war effort. At 13, having a boyfriend who played the saxophone and who listened to Symphony Sid, jazz disc jockey whose late night show originated from Birdland, she awakened to jazz, listening to the late night show “under my blanket”. “A turning point”, she says. (Well before “Lullaby of Birdland” was put to words Arlene had written a lyric of her own – a lyric she still sings today) At 14,she was playing for a dancing school once a week. Then she got an accidental job (“slipping in on a banana peel when the singer got sick”) in a Brooklyn nightclub singing with a group. “Mom and dad chaperoned, of course”.1950s 

She began to sing regularly when again, out of the blue, an agent rang offering a job for a hundred dollars a week to play at the Mayflower Hotel in Manhattan. It was a restaurant owned by Bob Olin, a former light heavyweight world champion. “I was so naïve I played the whole evening without ever taking a break. Who knew about breaks? Why they kept me I’ve no idea.” But they did and the steady salary of $100.00 a week (which she gave directly to her mother, any other choice never occurring to her) and the experience of having to make a varied program led to her singing to the piano, and eventually to playing to the singing. At this time she was still in high school as attending the prestigious High School of Music & Art as a harpist.She graduated from Music & Art getting a scholarship to Hofstra College as a music major.

Then in 1952, while still at Hofstra College (now university), she was playing on the weekends in a Hempstead, Long Island nightclub-restaurant when Slim Gaillard, who’d come to see Jack Teagarden (also working there) began to take notice of her. He started showing up regularly. There he met Arlene’s mother Margy, and the two eventually opened a jazz nightclub, the first to cater to blacks and whites. It was called The Turf and it, like Birdland had its own radio show, for which Arlene wrote the theme song “The Slim Gaillard Show”. Now she was standing as well as sitting, getting a chance to sit in and sing as often as she chose. The die was cast. It was jazz, cool jazz.

Early Influences
In 1954, on the day she ought to have been attending her college graduation, she married Bob Corwin, a 21-year-old jazz pianist with the Don Elliot Quartet. Because Bob toured, Arlene began her new stage of education: listening to Don’s group while they played on the same bill as the jazz greats of the 50’s. There was Helen Merrill at George Wein’s Storyville in Boston, Terry Gibbs and Illinois Jacquet in Detroit, Bill Evans, Cy Coleman, Bernard Peiffer, Tal Farlowe,Johnny Smith John Mehagan and Billy Taylor (who had also performed at the Turf) at the sophisticated Composer owned by jazz lover and connoiseur Willie Short in Manhattan. ” It was also a chance to see and listen to other singers of the day. New York was marvelous in those days. I saw Peggy Lee at Basin Street, became friends with Blossom Dearie at Trudy’s in the village, Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland at the Hickory House, Sheila Jordan, Morgana King. It was THE university for me. I was introduced to and mentored by Tony Fruscella, the tragic, unsung genius of the trumpet, ‘who I took on my gigs, but to whom I was actually the apprentice’ – and through Tony to Morgana King and Beverly Getz, the talented [and equally tragic] wife of Stan Getz. I feel blessed to have experienced jazz at that time. The guys would gossip about who played ‘behind’ or ‘ahead’ of the beat, bass lines, good changes, bad changes. No Music & Art or Hofstra did that. I learned almost the whole of what is now called The American Songbook. And I, I was sounding like Sarah Vaughn with a little voice.”


Hanging Around Manhattan; Not This, Not That…
Living in New York, and looking for a niche she spent time, as other musicians did, at the Musicians Union Local 802 or Charlie’s Tavern where jobs could show up. In this way, there were weeks and weekends away with big bands: Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra under the leadership of Warren Covington, Claude Thornhill and Larry Sonn.

“When you hang around New York all kinds of opportunities show up”. And so, she got a leading role in a B film called “Jukebox Racket’, wrote the score for another B film called, at the time “She Should Have Stayed In Bed”, later to be called ‘1,000 Shapes Of A Female: see IDMB (the company, called Exploit Films was owned by Errol Flynn “tall, big in every way, veins on his face, but exuding old world charm” He was quite, quite overwhelming.”

Then there was a bit part in John Cassavetes “Shadows”, followed by the lead in what has become a cult ‘beat’ musical called “The Nervous Set” by Fran and Jay Landesman where she introduced the now-standards “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most and “Ballad Of The Sad Young Men”, both subsequently recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey and numberless major artists. She studied acting with Joshua Shelley. “It was a time to find out who and what I was. “I was definitely not an actress. I was too introverted and none of those clothes fit” she says.

More Influences and more Not This, Not That…
In 1959 she met Johnny Burke (Burke & Van Heusen) who took her under his wing, taking her to Hollywood to demonstrate his show “Donnybrook” for Rosalind Russell and husband, producer Frederick Brisson “It was a glitzy time. I stayed at Bob Hope’s house in Palm Springs, met Frank Sinatra and his then fiancee Juliet Prowse, Jerry Lewis, Marlene Deitrich, had my own suite in Las Vegas , traveled first class, but was so introverted I always kept to myself, never saying much, definitely not participating in any of these scenes. Those clothes didn’t fit either.”

All the while she returned to the intimacy of New York supper clubs. They were the bottom line, singing and playing.

It was during the supper club period, she met Al Weissman who became her manager. She was signed to the Joe Glazer Agency and began to tour with her own trio. “Wherever I went they’d say, “You know, there’s just been a girl here who sounds like you. Her name was Barbra something. I suppose we had Brooklyn Jewishness in common. ” (She too was signed with Glazer.)

Although published by Frank Publishing (owned by composer Frank Loesser) years later she asked for the songs back because “nothing happened.” “It was a period of promise, a period I was not equipped to fulfill”.

In 1962 it was back to Hollywood with Al Weissman and high hopes. “I had some jobs, but never in my genre.” Back to New York. A little jaunt of songwriting with singer Dick Haymes. A short marriage of four months to Richard Robin Palmer.

Greece, Lebanon, Greece, Oxford – Yoga & Jazz

In 1966, by way of Paris, Greece (where she and husband Jim Council were neighbors with Leonard Cohen and Marianne) and Lebanon, “where I actually managed to do some television, singing jazz”, she settled in Oxford, England for the next 18 years, teaching yoga,(“lectured and demonstrated in what must have been a hundred Women’s Insitutes, posed for one of the very first health magazines called Health & Fitness, wrote articles on nutrition, had a weekly radio spot on a little radio show for BBB Oxford actually doing Yoga on radio while describing each pose with a microphone up my nose, did a tape on meditation – it was a lot of Yoga”) and singing and playing, being voted Best Jazz Singer in the Midlands 1972, appearing at Ronnie Scott’s three times. She did 3 television shows; a late night BBC jazz show called “In The Cool Of The Evening”, radio for BBC overseas, was invited over to Amsterdam to do Dutch radio, sang at universities around England, (“one night opposite Pink Floyd, “who were just starting out, I suppose”), the American air bases.

She appeared several times at The Stables in Wavendon (run by John Dankworth – now Sir John Dankworth – and Cleo Laine -now Dame Cleo Laine – while at the same time giving weekly yoga lessons to a group there, (which included Dame Cleo – “a wonderful yogin”). The Wavendon All-Music Plan, later known simply as WAP “was the most stimulating and original enterprise I’ve ever encountered, pairing all kinds of musical genre. I even played on the same bill as Vladimir Ashkenazy.”

Starting in 1969 and all during the 70’s fate gave a push to the yoga side of things and Arlene was teaching yoga classes in doctor’s offices for hyper-tense, cardiac and overweight men. teaching regularly at conferences for IBM. She gave demonstrations, lectured all over for the Women’s Institute, posed and wrote for Health and Fitness Magazine (summer issue 1982) a book called The New Manual Of Yoga by Karen Ross (1973) wrote articles on nutrition, made a cassette called This Is Meditation. It was a full double life with Yoga taking half the time and singing the other half.

1980s to now.
In 1983 she once again ran into Slim Gaillard – this time in London. He asked her to appear on a television show he was producing that was to star himself, Kai Winding and Wayne Shorter. It was the last appearance she ever made in England.In 1984, finding Sweden fertile ground for singer/pianists, and meeting and falling in love with Kent Anderson, she moved to Sweden where she lives until today, performing, and writing regularly for “Live With Good Intentions” an online magazine.
Still growing, still changing
The latest news – 2009 and 25 years later, aged 75: a cd of her own songs for Imogen Records produced by George Reece, a concert of Johnny Mercer to commemorate his 100th birthday, poetry grown to 2000 poems (see Arlene Corwin Poetry).

2009 finds her favorite project on Google called Arlene Corwin’s Poetry, a project that started in 1949 or about 2,000 poems ago.

2010 landmark:  First published book of poetry, “Circling Round Time” comes out in September “To The Child Mystic” the second due to come out in December.

2010-11  Circling Round Time and To The Child Mystic.  The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative . Regular contributor  to online magazines ElderwomanSpace; Jerry Jazz Musician; Elderwomanstorytellingplace; 

2012 More books!  Circling Round Woman; Circling Round Our Times, Our Culture; Circling Round Vanity: Vaguely About Music and Circling Round Eros + 2.  Publised by Xlibris.

2013-2014 More & more! Circling Round Yoga, Science, War & Cats; Circling Round Nature; God Book; in the works A Sense Of The Ridiculous.

Music career took an upswing with performances and concerts – an intimate series of composer-of-the-month programs based on the best of American popular composers.

And, of all things, at age 77, the start of yoga teaching in Härryda, Sweden.  

Arlene Corwin is, as at this writing, 80 years of age. Over 3,000 poems.

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Complaint From An Ageing Computer-Illiterate Lady 2008

         Complaint From An Ageing Computer-Illiterate Lady
I do the simplest things.
I ‘m stuck.
I seem to have lost intellect.
My grandchild [not the least moonstruck]
Sails in and out of little icons she calls forth
With whispered touch.
I’ve  not one crutch,
Dare not expect much.
Bared and crouched for semaphores
That only come from self. Ouch,
I should branch out,
Taking risks; latch on to newer things.
It is a kind of secret sloth,
Concealed from all who look
And see a working being.
Only I know what they are not seeing:
Pulls that lie behind this eight ball.
Ought not rail, my head not throb at failure,
But take on my newest tutor.
I must turn on my computer:
©Complaint From An Ageing Computer-Illiterate Lady 02.1.18/01.12.6./rev7.12.2008
A Sense Of The Ridiculous; Circling Round Woman; Circling Round Computers;
Arlene Corwin

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