For Jazz

                Jess Stacy

He owned that kind of lyrical command
That was so much admired. These were the days
Of piano culture in America.
Stacy sat easy, gathered in long-fingered hands
Octaves and basses, and never turned a phrase
That did not evoke some helpless metaphor
Of something crystalline or something clean,
Abstracted but committed, intense and yet serene.
In Goodman’s band he was like a hidden spring
In constant flow. Alone, his lines would swing
Lightly, with a deft sustaining tremor. Often enough
It was among the bold brass necks and the tough
Chicago swagger that he placed his clarity:
Silencing a barroom with a line of poetry.