Nocturne for a Jazz Guitar by Viv Griffiths
(Scribblings of a Swansea Jack Book 5)

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During the middle 70's of the last century, I got very fed up with constant repetitions of 'Under Milk Wood' by Welsh ham actors- warm and wonderful as it is - and determined to try and write a play set in the night, not day, with just one protagonist and in a contemporary urban surround.

The intention was to follow the course of a musician through the hours of darkness as he tries to communicate his sense of being through work, art, philosophy and sex, and, failing to get any real sense of his purpose through these, he disappears into his own mysticism- the fate of many a talented individual!

The verse form was intended to reflect his fluctuating moods- 'reflection' is a major theme - in that it starts of in solid blocks of ottava rima ( an excellent narrative stanza, but difficult to use and only Byron, Pushkin and Auden really mastered it, in my opinion ) then the verse breaks up into shorter quatrains, couplets and finally single images.

Banjo laughed at what he called 'my Rupert Bear doggerel,’ but later came around to the idea of simplistic verse acting as a sort of scaffolding to hold the complex, situations, asides and images - and some of the latter could be very deep and bleak in total contrast to his usual good humour - so the rhyme drives the text on like the drumbeats of a dance.

The childhood bits are my own from the east side of Swansea, as is the air of pseudo existential angst that Banjo never affected. The poem is not divided into parts as the reader was intended to take in the gestalt.
People seem to love or hate this piece of work and, as the bulk of it was written over a weekend, perhaps the latter, who seem to be in the majority, are entitled to their opinion! It has been pointed out that some of the tropes seem to be a parody of Dylan, but as I come from the same town and almost the same period as the great man, my sounds and syntax are bound to be similar in some places; but there are references to other poets that are deliberate. Despite these many drawbacks the 'Nocturne' is a unique piece of work and there is nothing else quite like it, so enjoy!

Viv Griffiths.

About Viv Griffiths

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Published March 4, 2013 by Pericles Publications 2013. 45 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction