Old Danish Jazzmen in the Rain

They are knowing, old and gray,
the Danish jazzmen playing in the rain,

while we sit listening beside the harbor.
They do not seem to mind the rain

coming through the canvas roof, the light
unraveling around them. They banter with us,

the trumpet and the trombone players
laughing on their liquid horns like fish.


While we sit listening, the rain
begins again and stops; a dog barks

at a seagull circling the boats;
and somewhere people riot in the streets

and die. While we sit listening,
bending with their supple notes, we try

to know the laughter of our lasting
in the gray and unrelenting sky.

—Norman Leer, Madison