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Picture 12013958, original artwork by Tess Hines, image copyright Mary Evans / Tess Hines Designs

Bird Song
by Jim Burns

 

Hard to explain why,

but when I first heard it

his music made me laugh,

not at it, but with it,

in delight, the sound soaring

above the rhythm, the little

hints of other melodies

causing me to chuckle.

And today, sixty years later,

I was listening to the radio

when one of his records

came out of the speaker,

a familiar one I’d listened to

at least a hundred times,

and I heard myself laughing

as if it was something new

and never heard before,

and opening up a new world.

 

 

© Jim Burns

Picture 12013958, original artwork by Tess Hines, image copyright Mary Evans / Tess Hines Designs

 

 

Jim Burns was born in Preston in 1936, and now lives near Stockport. He left school at 16, worked in a cotton mill and elsewhere, and spent three years in the army. He edited Move (1964-1968) and Palantir (1976-1983). He has been a regular contributor to Ambit (1963-2013) and Tribune (1964-1994). Publications include Laying Something Down: Poems 1962-2007 (Shoestring Press, 2010), Streetsinger (Shoestring Press, 2013), Let’s Do It, and Late Poems (Black Light Engine Room Press, forthcoming), as well as eight collections of reviews and essays, the most recent being Paris, Painters, Poets (Penniless Press, 2017).

 

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