To June Christy: A Monologue



I.



When you had grown old and your husband
Would take you out for dinner,
You were never made to wait for a table,
For those who knew you loved you long and well.
Yet, many could not fathom
That this meek, gray, tiny wisp of a woman
Was a jazz singer (though you denied the claim)
With passion for her songs that outlived the singer,
As an ever-unfinished album I'd weep to hear could tell.


Though "when the world was young" in your days of golden hair
A happy life shared with the groom of one's youth
Did not echo the timbre of those tunes, which cried
"I love you, you don't love me and I'm sad."---
That warm, full voice glided with flair
From behind big bands to the road
(though you missed your spouse and child badly when gone)
and into the solo realm.


Devotion to your art, not fame, steered your ship and let you dock on new places
Untried by household names.
Your ship was made of a million songs chosen painstakingly as one names a newborn.
Unlike the glitzy dames of the 'fifties
Who donned furs and gems to cut a record,
One could imagine that "spring can really hang up"
A plain-faced (except for lipstick) girl with her hair pulled back, in blouse and skirt,
Who saved her lovely concert clothes in the dark wood pantry at home.
Not a star on high but a tiny lighthouse you were,
Shining skillfully onto those who sought your beam.




II.



To say that you do not live is an insult,
For if that were all there is to life, no one would live.


Certainly you dwell among my time
When your voice cuts the silence,
Sparkling, floating, glossing over the water's surface.


Diamonds you buried deep in your own perfectionism
Shine forth before these eyes yet today.


Time and space mean nothing because
The Energy of the Good Creator's Hand behind all His works
Is also behind you, knowing neither of these
Walls built by human hands.


Nor do I, when falling softly upon an essence of song,
Fail to hear the footfalls of those no longer visible to earth.


That you were here for a time is all that matters.


For life is experience and experience life,
In your sixty-four is scores more than my years,
Giving you more, though absent, than I, even present.


As I exist, so did you; and never mind all else.




III.


What of me? Is there a line of you in my sketch?
Both began our songs taught by kindly men
Older than we, whom we loved as friends.
I thrill to be told of someone hearing your voice in mine.
(High praise.)



Like an angel of song dressed in the rainbow, you landed
In my world after you had gone,
Through old songs so sunrise-new to me,
When my own art had been battered by years.
I sing less often but love it more, as you teach me,
Which stills my joyful void,



You were sent to me when I needed you the most.