Sandra Beasley Reads Her Summer Poem 'Ukulele'

Aug 7, 2014
Originally published on August 7, 2014 8:09 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All this month we are listening to poets who are inspired by summer. Our first poet is Sandra Beasley. During a time of year that many associate with fleeting romance, Beasley got married.

SANDRA BEASLEY: And it was so fun to begin something this summer that I hope will last a lifetime. Poets, in particular, are always bards of our own heartache. And I thought it would be nice to write a poem that celebrates not the ache, but the thing that resonates, the thing that sticks.

GREENE: What resonates in the poem we're about to hear is the ukulele. It's not a dramatic instrument, Beasley says, but just like in love, maybe dramatic isn't always best. Here's Beasley reading her poem called, "Ukulele."

BEASLEY: (Reading) The vessel is simple - a rowboat among yachts. No one hides a Tommy gun in its case. No bluesman runs over his uke in a whiskey rage. The last of the Hawaiian queens translated the name gift that came here while the Portuguese historians translate jumping flea the way a player's fingers pick and fly. If you have a cigar box, it'll do. If you have fishing line, it'll sing. If there is to be one instrument of love, not love vanished or imagined, but love, it's this one. Fit a melody in the crook of your arm and strum.

(UKULELE MUSIC)

GREENE: Sandra Beasley reading her summer poem, "Ukulele." Her latest collection of poetry is "I Was The Jukebox." It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.