The Sadly Futile Pretence 1993

                  The Sadly Futile Pretence

“This is the last song that you’ll ever hear me play,” he roared.

He sat down at his organ, striking one great chord.

“…the last song that I’ll ever play in this damned pub!”

And he walked up to the organ while the boss looked bored.

He played a song he’d often played, but with a great emotion.

He played his heart out, as they say. He played with great devotion

To the theme, and as he finished with a grand dramatic pause,

He took his beer, he wiped a tear and looked for some applause.

But folk continued talking; clinking glass was all you heard.

For the saddest cut of all was that, in fact, nobody cared.

“They’ll see they cannot do without me. They’ll be sorry yet…!”

He was thinking this with every pounded note he played that set.


Just a drunken little fellow who showed up each night at six,

And who stayed till two each morning showing off his tattered tricks.

Who’d begun to think he owned the club – played host and bossed around

Other players who showed up to play. He had to share the stand.

And if someone had a birthday or a graduation day,

Or if someone wanted Strauss, or asked to sing, then he would play.

Good old Charlie-at-the-ready, with unsteady hand could

Play light opera or a folk song. In his genre good.

Not professional, but in his amateurish way he played quite well,

Playing harmonies – not incorrect – just, what shall we say, – stale.

Dearest Charlie, dear loud Charlie, he could turn a tune.

And he sometimes changed the light bulbs in his home in the saloon.


I’d have sworn he’d gone forever, if you’d asked me on that night.

But on showing up myself next week, he’d far from taken flight.

Walking round the club as always, telling all who gave an ear,

How he’d fixed the mike, had cleaned the keys, wouldn’t say no to beer:

“A strong one, please!”

©The Sadly Futile Pretence 93.7.5

Vaguely About Music; Special People Special Occasions;Small Stories Book;

Arlene Corwin






Birthday Kent 1993

          Birthday Kent
A corny line – but if you knew

How it has been to live with you

You’d know I celebrate

This February date with joy,

The day Linnea had a boy.

Full of life and drive,

Who’s reached the figures five five,

Calm, dear Kent,

Dear heart so true,

Just think, you play piano too!



Birthday Kent 93.2.8Love Relationships; Special People Special Occasions;(K) Birthday Book;

Arlene Corwin


What Does It Mean When Your Friends Start Dying 1992

          What Does It Mean When You’re Friend Start Dying?         
               (On reading of the death of Red Mitchell)

What does it mean when your friends start to die –

Not only your friends but the people you’ve met?

I’m getting so tired of rhyming with dying,

Of trying to fathom the feel in my gut;

Of trying to find the most honest reaction –

Appropriate action – without adding “but…”

The chock, sudden absence,; unturnable, -backable,

Plans of “I’ll show them” that then become sackable;

Plans that seemed meaningful only just yesterday,

Losing the life force that held them in play.

Motives once framed in nobility’s name

That now sound profane, vain and fill me with shame;

Those I’d have given a million to stir,

To hear them once say,| “Oh, my heavens, it’s her!”

Those who had influence I yearned to touch;’

Those who I wanted to say, “She’s too much,

She’s the best!” Their souls are at rest.

No one to impress. Their bodies are gone.

Importance is less than that speck on the wall.

In fact, their importance is nothing at all.

But the memory lingers on.

What does it mean when your friends start to die;

And not always friends just the people you’ve met ?

It changes the places you wanted to get.

And parents? That’s worse!

You’re left there to nurse one more question of where

They are now. You may curse

But there’s nothing to do, no thing to reverse.

The famous, the eminent names that you read –

One day when you pick up the papers, they’re dead.

One of life’s hiccups. You hardly think twice.

A blending of fate and the throwing of dice.

You think about cause and effect, and you sigh

“Some of my friends are beginning to die.

My generation has started to go.”

My bass playing colleague dropped dead on the eighth.

I’m trying to take, even welcome that fate,

Think it’s my real home, deepen that faith,

Change the old patterns that soiled a past –

When it comes, as it must, say “At last, God, at last!”

It ain’t easy.



What Does It Mean When Your Friends Start Dying 92.11.11Birth, Death & In Between; Special People Special Occasions (Red Mitchell);

Arlene Corwin












A Celebration Of… 1992

              A Celebration Of…

Just because you are my friend,

Gentle, kind, and plucky,

Don’t think this poem’s just duty bound

And birthday yarn

When I say Judy:

Lucky, lovely, ducky. –

Nicest Pisces of them all.

©A Celebration Of…92.2.25

Special People Special Occasions; Birthday Book;

Arlene Corwin


What You Were Born To Do 2007

               What You Were You Born To Do

What were you born to do?

Play like Art Tatum?

Paint like Rothke?

Carpent? Garden?

Be a twin to God-in-you?

Sixty-nine; these are the questions of the year.

Birthday once or everyday;

The days sincere, a birth to cheer.

You sense the thing that’s left to do.

You know the answers

Inside you.

One formal day to celebrate;

Day for everyone around to thank you –

Thank you for existing. But the rest –

Three hundred sixty-four –

Are days you do not calibrate.

This last year of a decade, leaving six behind:

Have you got the things you prayed for?

Have the sixty’s helped you find

The life you’re made for?

Sixty-nine: a leaving and a looking forward.

One more chance to start the new –

Do things you’re born to do.

Stay strong, and

Happy birthday all year long!

©What You Were Born To Do7.2.5

Birth, Death & In Between; Special People Special Occasions; Birthday Book;

Arlene Corwin

Sister In-Law 2007

           Sister In-Law

Caretaker her essence:

Mother ninety-three,

Grand-daughter, three – about,

Two adult sons and husband,

Ailing aunt, now gone,

And on and on.

I don’t know two like that!

Born to wash an aging skin,

Break in a baby to existence;

What comes out at either end,

There’s no repulsion, fear or sloth –

She’s there to do whatever…

What is needed, when it’s needed,

Feeding tired souls and bodies.

I’m inspired.

She, all simple goodness, if you will.

It’s free.

I’m lucky to be witness.

©Sister In-Law 07.4.10

Special People Special Occasions;

Love Relationships;

Mother Book;

Swedish Book;

Arlene Corwin

She Photographs Clouds 2007

                     She Photographs Clouds

They move,

They fly:

The highest metaphoric


That wants and needs

To reach a sky

Wherein an Ellie freed

For fantasy

Is never bored.

© Why Clouds? 12.6.2007

Circling Round Nature; Special People, Special Occasions; Small Stories Book;

Arlene Corwin

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