For Jazz

          Thelonious Monk

There was a stark insistence in his themes.
They ran in circles, beat at a single key,
Plagued dissonances, or otherwise progressed
In simple, steady steps. Everything seemed
Deliberation, circularity.
At the piano he could seem caged, possessed
By the keyboard, one foot pawing at the air,
Bearded and behatted, profoundly unaware.
Nellie ran around him, as you would a child.
But his pathos and his silence were an empty sign
With which the world has never reconciled
That monk was forever driving through his own design
With a stripped-down logic nothing could deflect,
A school, a strategist, an architect.