Self Singing

Shadow self portrait, Port Aransas, 35mm film photo by author

Whitman had a lot of songs,
long and rambling, so many notes
venturing all over the melodic range
from the highest octaves to the
lowest reaches of the bass clef

If he was written out on a staff,
codified into halves, wholes, and sixteenths,
he would be a tangle to rival Brahms,
with a reach beyond Rachmaninoff or Liszt

You wouldn’t want to hear my play it
and you wouldn’t want to hear me sing

but if I did compose my life
neatly onto a sheet that you could read
it would be in a major key
always searching for the next
positive note, striving to vibrate in
perfect harmonious thirds and fifths

Sometimes I would strike at larger chords
and trip lightly through arpeggios and
challengingly playful scales and runs
with a vocal accompaniment
like the wind breathing out of the mountains
in the summertime, with the strength
of the gales that blow in from the sea
determined to finish the entire symphony
on a high note, with a healthy satisfying
final movement that would keep stretching out
as along as I was able to keep up with the tune


It’s almost my birthday, and every year I publish a collection of self-portraits on my photo website. Thinking about those, I decided to also think about a self-celebratory poem ala Mr. Whitman, the Great Granddaddy of all epic self-celebrations. I apologize to sticklers if I messed up my metaphors or didn’t get my musical notation correct. Thanks for reading!

Published by amyjasek

Film photographer, mother, positively passionate about life in general, Texan : )

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