Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jack Kerouac's Headless Hat; or, Issa's Sunday Service, #130

all day
    wearing a hat
that wasn't on my head
Jack Kerouac

My reading of late is strictly in the history of English language haiku and I was extremely pleased to run across praise for Jack's early work in the form by no less a luminary than Cor van den Heuvel (in his volume, Baseball Haiku).  Going through Jack's Book of Haikus (tangentially to the writing project I've been working on) once more, very slowly, has been a true delight.

Here's a little Sunday something that deserves to be #130 on Issa's Sunday Service - it's got the cred - but let's just enjoy for now, eh?  I was going to use the Blues Project's more well-known rendition but the legendary composer, Eric Andersen, didn't trim the lyrics back, so I went that way.

And they, those lyrics, are gorgeous ...

(P.S. Because the connections just never seem to stop, I just stumbled on the fact that Andersen was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and that he contributed "The Brooklyn Bridge Blues: Chorus 10," from The Book of Dharmas, for the Kicks Joy Darkness compilation, on the work of Jack Kerouac.  Oh, yeah.)

Violets of Dawn - Eric Andersen

Take me to the night
I'm tippin' topsy turvy turning upside down
Hold me tight and whisper what you wish
For there is no one here around
Oh you may sing song me sweet smiles
Regardless of the city's careless frown

Come watch the no colors fade blazing
Into petal sprays of Violets of Dawn

In blindful wonderments enchantments
You can lift my wings softly to fly
Your eyes are like swift fingers reaching out
Into the pockets of my night
Whirling twirling puppy warm
before the flashing cloaks of darkness gone

Come see the no colors fade blazing
Into petal sprays of Violets of Dawn

Some Prince Charming I'll be
On two white steeds to bring you
dappled diamond crowns
And climb your tower Sleeping Beauty
Before you ever know I've left the ground
You can wear a Cinderella Snow White
Alice Wonderland-ed gown

Come watch the no colors fade blazing
Into petal sprays of Violets of Dawn

But if I seem to wander off in dream like looks
Please let me settle slowly
It's only me just staring out at you
A seeming stranger speaking holy

I don't mean to wake you up
it's only loneliness just coming on

So let the no colors fade blazing
into petal sprays Of Violets Of Dawn

Like shadows bursting into mist
Behind the echoes of this nonsense song
It's just chasing whispering trail
Of secret steps see them laughing on
There's magic in the sleepiness of waking
to a childish sounding yawn

Come watch the no colors fade blazing
Into petal sprays of Violets of Dawn.

the little boy
tumbling all day...
translated by David G. Lanoue

Photo by Samalah


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Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 129 songs


Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't care for Kerouac's "On the Road" so originally had no interest in his haiku. Then a friend and haiku poet named David Lanoue talked about Kerouac's work and so I did read some. Much, much better than his prose it seems to me.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Glad you like the haiku, Charles.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Somehow in approving your post, it went, poof, off to that bottomless pit of soundless cyberspace. Thanks for the note on Village days, Andersen and Ted and how lyricism, in so many of its forms, was not a dirty word not all that long ago.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Eric Andersen was a fixture on the Village folk club scene during my ragged Downtown habitation, and I went to see him perform many times, often with fellow poets -- Ted Berrigan in particular was a great fan. And Violets of Dawn is THE song that brings that curiously remote now (in its innocence) time back most vividly... a time when "lyrical" had not yet become a term of derision.

(mistakenly deleted post from TC)