The Songbird 1997


       The Songbird

I heard a singer and was moved,

Which proves not much.

We’re touched by mediocrity,

The second-rate,

The bait of glamour.

Hers was honesty,

Simplicity dug deep in skill.

Talent and ability.

Oh, so good, voice many-hued.

Interpretation, even the

Pronunciation, woven in

The loveliness.

A jazz parfait: a marmalade,

Jade luminesence

Honesty, simplicity,

Substance in each nicety;

Who wouldn’t want to sing so well,

That those who heard would feel compelled

To tell the world what you exude

Though under-known and undervalued?

(such a gift might give me hubris where, too satisfied,

I’d have to watch for sins of pride.)

For now, there’s happiness-near-bliss,

Aesthetic saturation

Having heard this songbird sing.*


The Songbird 97.10.4Special People, Special Occasions; Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin

* Sue Raney



The Only Lady Bass Player I Know 1995

     The Only Jazz Bass Playing Lady I Know

Why would a lady start playing the bass?

Take on an instrument weighing a ton?

It can’t be much fun to transport;

Schlep a four-stringéd buddy

And bow for good measure?

What pleasure from plucking four beats,

The occasional solo and jazz waltz for treats?

Feminine creature,

Petite and demure,

Training, her muscles, sustaining technique– not leery

Of playing for bleary-eyed, tone-deaf, demandingly dreary

Old guys and young punks.

If I were that lady I’d play something else:

The flute or the conch or the singing chipmunks.

(I remember them well.)

Yet let’s toast the bass,

The chalice of callus,

The lady who carries the bass loaded case,

Who has broken the caste of the plucking male race.

©The Only Lady Jazz Bass Playing Lady I Know 95.1.8

A Sense Of The Ridiculous; Circling Round Woman; Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin






The Courage To Say This Is The Way My Soul Sounds 2006

The Courage To Say This Is The Way My Soul Sounds

Now you start,

Discarding all neurosis

Grounded in the fears of failure,

Certain in your heart

“I am creating as I speak”

Avrah kedabra!” – Aramaic.

I will lose the seven deadly sins

Or use the seven deadly sins,

Converting them to sharp discernment,

Wit and wisdom, common sense,

Clear thinking and refinement.

And singing out, and when you pen,

And when the music of your days marooned

Is opened,

These will spring from courage that says

This, my prize, my non-disguise,

My jazz, my phrase – these are the ways

In which my soul sounds

And has sounded in its silence

Since its cause.

©The Courage To Say This Is The Way My Soul Sounds 06.7.28

I Is Always You Is We; Vaguely About Music; Definitely Didactic;

Arlene Corwin



Small Changes 2008

             Small Changes

         (Stick To Your Essence)

I just do the honest song.

Born ’34, exposed to bebop jazz in ’50,

Took it in and went from there

Using changes in the air, my hair,

The wars, the weather –

Any/every- bringing on the songs

Borne from soul-meant-to sing.


Review of Morrisette said,

“Driven, pushed, experimental…

Great but lost…

Put your money on her past.”

Revolutionary changes,

Quirky works sold prematurely –


Ready change that branches out

Is evolution-steady,

Never artful, not a standstill.

I re-make, re-work, relent.

Change seems to do me,

I assent and ‘be’ – content


© Small Changes 6.4.2008

The Processes:Creative,Thinking, Meditative; Vaguely About Music; Pure Nakedness;

Arlene Corwin






From Stan Getz Is Dead Take 2 1991 2006

From Stan Getz Is Dead (Take Two)

As it comes bar by bar

Until one year

It’s time;

Without fear and with calm,

To fall nicely asleep,

Having sensed from your dreams

And the use of I Ching

That the song that you sing

Is about to be sung,

With no qualms

Since you’ve sensed something sweet

That’s about to delete

The hard won daily wheat

By the hints of completion

That come through somehow,

And the circle shows signs that the end is just right

And you peacefully bow to-and-out of the Now

With no fear of the bed that you’ll lie on that night.

©From Stan Getz Is Dead (Take Two) 91.9.26/06.7.21

Birth, Death & In Between; Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin

Filling The Hole 2 2003

Filling The Hole

Your undertaking esoteric,

Father says, “Not economic!

You can’t make a living at it!”

You know in your heart empiric

Someone does. You’re categoric;

Facts historic. Rise may not be meteoric,

But there’s someone there who needs it!

Somewhere out there someone wants it!

Someone’s willing to support you,

Keep a roof over your head,

Pay for food and baby’s bed.

If you keep on doing what you’re doing,

Leaning toward and on your gifts, eschewing

This and that that earns more money,

Go for it! As loony as it seems


Filling The Hole 03.2.25                                                                                             Definitely Didactic;Vaguely About Music;Special People Special Occasions;Defiant Doggerel

Arlene Corwin






Exercise 1960


He plays the alto sax;

He pays no income tax,

Gets no benefit

From sources of that kind.

The benefits he gets

Come from his music.

The benefit San Getz

Come from his soul.

©Exercise 1960

Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin

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