Lyrics, Lyrics for other Composers, Writing

Poems for Billy Strayhorn (IV)

The technical side of this piece began when I read a songwriting book that suggested opening a set of lyrics with the word “And” (which, as we were all taught in elementary school, is NOT an acceptable way to begin a sentence.) So, just starting my poem with this word was a purposeful act of defiance in a grammatical sense, not even taking into consideration the subject of the piece which evolved into its own defiant statement. I have witnessed this violent story in many forms over my lifetime. It is never the same, yet it is always the same. These words were inspired by the melody and they flowed out of my pen and onto the page in a stream-of-consciousness way. They surprised me.

Listen to Lament for an Orchid by Billy Strayhorn  – The Dutch Jazz Orchestra
This song is also known as Absinthe – click this link to hear Duke Ellington

And Again
©2009 Laurie Early

And again,
he apologizes, as he
begs her, please, to give him
one more chance.

So, she bends, and
she accepts his orchid, and
she admits that maybe
this time was her fault.

Oh…Every waking minute
she’s on the defensive
Every day
in every way
she’s scared
to leave

Things are calm,
love returns a moment,
but then she speaks
of friends
she misses,
doesn’t he?
[doesn’t he?]

And he turns,
now his fist is raised, and
she can feel
so clearly
all the rage

Every waking minute
he’s on the offensive
Every day in every way
he’s scared
she’ll leave

So, she runs,
through the open doorway,
her orchid’s
just as she pulls
the door

And she runs
And she runs
And she runs away to the night
And she runs away to the night

The other Strayhorn inspired poems I have posted here are:  (I) My Isfahan, (II) Chelsea Bridge, and (III) Lotus Blossom.



  1. beautiful true … and so damn on the spot of today’s happenings, at least this woman had a chance to run away :(( big hugs Lorena


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