For Jazz

                Duke Ellington

An epicurean by temperament,
Presenting the look and manner of some benign
But confident seducer, Duke embellished
His mortal time with color more than ornament.
So we imagine he would regally recline
On a cloud of royal purple, from which he relished
The blue of Hodges’ alto, the golden-red
Of Williams’ trumpet, textures blending in his head.
Or the morning levée in some grand hotel,
Duke leisurely transcribing some sensuous impression
That the night has left, while there attend
His pleasure and distraction all the personnel —
Agent, mistress, man of God, physician —
To hide from him that pleasure has an end.