+ A track. Photo above Kasia Rose Hrybowicz
London Tales: Round Midnight. A poem.
In the picture above a painting and a photo of Monk’s hands playing the piano taken by my friend, John Hoppy Hopkins. RIP.
Round midnight. Recorded live at Lauderdale House London with Dorian Ford Neville Malcome Phil Harper. This version has lyrics and Poem by Oscar Brown Jr. RIP. Another artist that I adore. When I perform my poem, I sing the lyrics most pople know.
Music Thelonious Monk – Lyrics and Poem on recording, Oscar Brown Jr – written in the year of my birth. 1944 My Poem here.
One night in rural Devonshire.. in an old house, once a Monastery.
“ it began to tell round midnight round midnight….
I do pretty well ‘till after sundown .. “
I climbed the narrow stairs of slate and stone and behind a curtain into a Monk’s room.
I am awake in a narrow bed that is unfamiliar to me, underneath white cotton sheets and a musty faded pink Eiderdown
Around Midnight ..
Above my head an ancient roof of beam and thatch I lie,
trying to catch illusive sleep.
An Owl, or did I imagine it?
Too wit too woo? Too you?
A call in the woods below A bark? A fox?
The sounds in the darkness are extraordinary…
They are not city sounds.
It is not silent here.
Who walks above my head?
The soft creak of footsteps on old wood.
Who goes there?
My mind is simmering, brimful, my thoughts tumbling in free fall.
The night air is sweet and cool on my face,
I hear a piano, the notes, like my thoughts all in chaotic disorder, until- melody, harmony, beauty emerges from the introduction.
The ghost of Thelonious Monk visits me in my Monk’s room.
Blue Monk, Round Midnight?
Am I in a Monk’s Dream? Well, you needn’t.
I listen to the lyricism and euphony.
It is both inside and outside my head.
It is not silent there.
The notes faded away. The complex chords, the phantasmic harmonies –
There is no orange urban light imposing its day glow glare upon this Devonshire hollow in the midnight of its star full ink darkness.
In Deptford, close to the River Thames, the night hum and throb of a City,
sirens howl, a lonely prowler on the empty street below my window as sleepless, my feet chilled as I peer out through glass and night will pass.
I wait for a red dawn to rise behind the Observatory on a hill in Greenwich, where time is organised. Greenwich mean time.
Another night with News and ‘Sailing By’ in order to still my own thoughts.
Render them secondary.
I do not want them in this moment.
❝ I do very well ‘till after sundown
suppertime I’m feeling sad …
but it really gets bad ‘round midnight’❞
Monk knew all about midnight …
and he made the notes sing the song….
As it should be..
Dear Monk, if I was not in my bed I would take off my Pork Pie hat, doff my cap to you and bow my head.
Sir, you were a magical Man, each dancing of your fingers on ivory keys,
a pianism of lament, pride, courage intent, leaving me breathless.
Thelonious Monk Written following a night sleeping in a Devonshire Hollow 2006 ©
Monk knew all about midnight … and he made the notes sing the song.
Other musical Heros all around my home…below Mingus and Ray Charles in my shed window xx