jazz funeral

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The wheels on the hearse they roll, they roll.

The tears down her face they roll, they roll.

Our steps, stately as thunder, they roll.

 

The horns they mourn, so low, so low.

The sax she weep, so low, so low.

Our hearts they droop so low, so low.

 

The gates they swing so slow, so slow.

The stones pass by so slow, so slow.

Our hands they clapping so slow, so slow.

 

The graveyard bell it ring, it ring.

The grave digger he sing, he sing.

Our voices join in, we sing, we sing.

 

The box, body no soul, it go, it go.

The hole she call it in, come let’s go.

Our hands drop in dirt, we go, we go.

 

The gravel path finds a beat, our beat.

The music changes! A new beat! New beat!

Our bodies sway, our hearts beat! Beat!

 

The dirge is over, she gone. She gone.

The mourning is done. We done. We done.

Our parasols turn roun’ and roun’.

 

The ‘membering begins, begins.

The celebrating begins, it begins.

Our march turns to dancing spins!

 

The horns they sing in joy, in joy.

The sax she shout in joy, in joy.

We remember with joy, with joy.

 

The song celebrate our freedom!

The body from the soul cut loose!

Our dirge go to dancing. We free!

 

The black clouds, they gone! They gone.

The sun, she shine on. She shine on.

Our hearts they rise on. Rise on!

 

The body be dead and gone. Gone.

The soul it rise and be gone. Gone.

Our souls they live on. Live on.

 

We are all about Jazz tonight at dVerse Poets Pub.  I recall watching Live and Let Die, and seeing the jazz funeral when I was younger. Then learning more about it from, of all places, NCIS’s Abby.  When Gay gave us the prompt, I had to do some more reading. Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_funeral!  Traditionally the dirge is the funeral march, slow and stately. It is a formal good bye with all the expected mourning.  After the soul is ‘cut loose of the body’ the music, and atmosphere goes towards celebrating life! Joyful songs, dancing, twirling parasols and handkerchiefs along with much more joyful music accompany the exit from the cemetery.  What a cool way to celebrate a life! 

 

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46 Comments

  1. Laurie Kolp said,

    September 13, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Very musical!

  2. brian miller said,

    September 13, 2013 at 2:01 am

    really nice form in this shanyn…love what you did with repetition in each stanza….i hope when my time comes they turn to dancing you know…to celebrate what was….

    • shanyns said,

      September 13, 2013 at 2:49 am

      Dancing and reading your poetry to those who are there to celebrate a life – we all should have it that way! Thanks for coming over, and I’m glad you liked it!

  3. Linda said,

    September 13, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I could really see this put to music. Nice!

  4. Waltermarks said,

    September 13, 2013 at 2:53 am

    Sounds like a New Orleans funeral dirge, right down Bourbon St. Very believable.

    • shanyns said,

      September 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

      Thank you! Appreciate that, thanks for stopping by.

  5. claudia said,

    September 13, 2013 at 4:18 am

    very interesting and i like how you turned it into poetry as well.. i saw a vid once where joshua redman, one of my fav tenor sax players plays at his dad’s funeral…moved me to tears..

    • shanyns said,

      September 14, 2013 at 12:11 am

      There is something so moving about how these funeral marches are done – thanks for coming by Claudia!

  6. howanxious said,

    September 13, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Loved the music in your words… beautiful rhythm. I liked the ending and how the transformation takes place within the poem from gloominess to a joyous celebration of a being. 🙂

    • shanyns said,

      September 14, 2013 at 12:11 am

      Thanks! 🙂 It really is a process, the goodbye and then the celebration of a life.

  7. MarinaSofia said,

    September 13, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Perfect mix of spirituals, blues, funeral dirge. The change of atmosphere and the idiomic use of language – very nice!

    • shanyns said,

      September 14, 2013 at 12:12 am

      Thanks Marina! It was fun to write and neat to do the research.

  8. September 13, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Brilliant. I adore the rhythm and the resonance. There’s something about those New Orleans funerals that twang at my heartstrings. Excellent.

    • shanyns said,

      September 14, 2013 at 12:26 am

      Thank you so much! 🙂 I was striving for that. So glad you came over.

      • September 14, 2013 at 7:05 am

        🙂
        You certainly achieved it! And I’m very pleased to be here.

  9. aprille said,

    September 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

    How clever to use that form. I could hear it even though I never listened to one. Very crafty change of mood as well. Thanks for the explanation.

    • aprille said,

      September 13, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Of course I have heard this music before. Daft me. When the Saints go marching in. Never realized that it was funeral music. I just listened to it again, and it is really good. Thanks, girl.

      • shanyns said,

        September 14, 2013 at 12:12 am

        You have heard it, I thought you might have! 🙂 Glad you recalled the song. Love that song! Glad you enjoyed the poem.

  10. Debi Swim said,

    September 13, 2013 at 11:34 am

    The repetition sets the mood – at the beginning somber, sad and ends in jubilation. As a song I can see how this would be slow and low then open up faster and louder. Nice

    • shanyns said,

      September 14, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Thank you Debi. Yes the tempo really changes from somber to celebration!

  11. Mary said,

    September 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    This really had a nice flow to it. It really had the flavor of a spiritual. VERY nice.

  12. September 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Yes this had the dirge feel, a long slow blues but in New Orleans where the “jazz parades” follow the casket this is the song to the cemetery, and then the return is something like When The Saints Go Marchin’ In – upbeat, joyous, redemptive. Wonderful take on some of the oldest roots of jazz here. Thank you!

    • shanyns said,

      September 14, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Thank you for the great prompt. It was a joy to write this one, and join in with you.

  13. ManicDdaily said,

    September 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Wow – I thought this was great amazing. It was very brave of you to write in this voice and you really managed. It is beautiful and a beautiful take on the whole event of a death and funeral. Really terrific Shanyns. K.

    • ManicDdaily said,

      September 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      I meant quite amazing! Thanks.

      • shanyns said,

        September 14, 2013 at 12:14 am

        Thanks! It is a bit of a departure for me but I enjoyed it. May have to revisit it again sometime So pleased you enjoyed it.

  14. September 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Like a New Orleans funeral…funnifly I get James Bond movie playing on my retina…

    • shanyns said,

      September 14, 2013 at 12:15 am

      I know! Live and Let Die – the whole scene just is vivid to my memory as well! 😀

  15. Marya said,

    September 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Shanyn, I could see the procession behind the hearse in Dixie. So well done!

    • shanyns said,

      September 14, 2013 at 12:15 am

      Thank you so much, great that you stopped by. Glad you enjoyed the poem.

  16. September 14, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Liking the refraining verses ~ you go the jazzy beat & mood ~

  17. Imelda said,

    September 14, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Wow! Now, this is jazz. 🙂 I like the beat. I feel like clapping, slow at first and then faster at the last parts. Now that I said that, I hear the beating of the drums, too. 🙂

  18. Tony Maude said,

    September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I could here this being sung as I read along; the repetitions really added to the musicality of this. And the turn of sadness to joy and celebration – I hope my life is worth celebrating like this when it’s done.

    • shanyns said,

      September 15, 2013 at 4:50 am

      Tony I think we all want that kind of celebration – and I think most deserve it (memorable obit from Nevada this week being the exception!)…so glad you could ‘hear’ it as well. Great that you enjoyed it.

  19. September 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    I love the beat and the underlying joy it brings. For those of us who believe in something beyond this life, there is an element of celebration, isn’t there, as there is for any life well-lived. This could be put to music and sung at a celebration of life!

    • shanyns said,

      September 15, 2013 at 4:51 am

      Thank you Victoria! I love that. Wish I knew someone who could do the music. And yes there is more after this, and it is worth celebrating!

  20. Gabriella said,

    September 14, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you for your introduction to Jazz Funeral. Very nice poem!

    • shanyns said,

      September 15, 2013 at 4:51 am

      Thank you for coming by, glad you enjoyed it.

  21. September 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I love the way the funeral is a step to be gone through to get to celebration and how the music links it all together. The first time I have read a key change!

    • shanyns said,

      September 15, 2013 at 4:52 am

      Cool, glad you enjoyed this journey of ours to the cemetery and back! 🙂 Glad you stopped by.

  22. September 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Shanyns … this is genius. You have described to perfection NO jazz funerals as shown in Jazz by Ken Burns.


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