For Jazz

                Jack Teagarden

He carried in his pocket everywhere
An engineer’s peaked cap, for Jack loved trains.
With Kelly’s orchestra he roamed the square
From Kansas to the cow-town Texas plains.
Up north they greeted him amazed, he ambled in
To instant acclamation, faced the lights
Of national renown, in those times of bathtub gin,
The radio, the talkies, and the Tunney-Dempsey fights.
Jack was no contender at the public task
Of leading bands. He gave of his solemn cheer
And played and sang his stately blues. We see
In photographs a smiling melancholy mask,
Dreaming of being a quiet engineer
A lazy steady brakeman on the T & P.