As the spring/summer contests wind down, I would like to welcome Sheryl Massaro to The Song Is...and to welcome back Felino A. Soriano. Both of their poems celebrate women in music.
for Nina Simone
In the silences in between
her old soul contralto trails
I am momentarily dazed,
lost like one of those children
who were led by a piper,
a male siren who knew much
about pain and cared less.
In them, the meditations
to the closed worlds of others
bring her to the keys
to sit in judgment
by Sheryl Massaro
Sheryl Massaro’s poetry and translations have been called “moving, beautiful,” yet they are grounded in the deceptively simple paths of daily living. Massaro has an MFA in Creative Writing and has had residencies at Yaddo and St. Peter’s colonies. She has studied under Stanley Kunitz, Allen Ginsberg, Galway Kinnell, and many others. Several of her poems have been published in literary journals as well as The New York Times. Massaro now lives in Frederick, Maryland. She teaches occasional small-group poetry writing classes and is an accomplished painter, photographer, and gardener.
—after Geri Allen’s Soul Eyes
each gate wanders, opens widens,
an interpretation of a window’s
signature of contouring syllables
shaped by hands of popular
association, —a connected dedication
opens the visual hanker to
align purpose with the prose
of companionship’s configuration, each
smile of an onlooker holds an embraceable
moment, an emblem stays, hovering
above what portends color to confirm
emotional clarification, and the eyes
will remember each chapter, each
page will ignite imagination’s pageantry,
by Felino A. Soriano
Let's start with some of Nina Simone's music.
Here is her version of "Little Girl Blue": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8yIpH_VI50
At the same concert (Montreux 1976), she performed "How It Feels to Be Free." You can watch her improvise on the piano:
Her "Feelin Good" is certainly compelling:
I know you want to hear Geri Allen's "Soul Eyes":
On "Lonely Woman," she plays with Paul Motian and Charlie Haden:
She is also known for her work with Esperanza Spaulding and Teri Lyne Carrington:
Love these poems. What a pleasure to dwell in them for a while. Thank you.