Trevor Bailey: ‘Piano Bar’, ‘Jacaranda’, A Match for Shiva and ‘In a Pompeii Street’

Piano Bar
Ritz-Carlton, Double Bay

Tilt the glass a little, then let the liquor
Tumble in return down the crystal wall,
Leaving “tears” as they’re called.
Hold the glass before a candle’s flicker
And drink the light brown hue with eyes.
Breathe deep—embrace its heady nose;
The Very Special Old Pale you chose
Provides a fine companion to cigars,
As well you know. Put the lighted taper
To the tip: puff and roll, puff and roll …
Oh! those first few mouthfuls—so cloudy cool
To taste. Sip brandy; savour
Drink and tar. Listen to arpeggios
Fly up from his left hand
As he paints, with baby grand,
The room like a Michelangelo
Of C Minor. This sensuous, pensive
Little soundscape of a bar
That sits apart, though not too far,
From a dining room’s expensive
Din and glitzy chatter.
Here, for a while
For a fee, in style,
Nothing else shall matter.

Trevor Bailey

In a Pompeii Street

Frozen mid-step, and here before me:
taken unexpectedly
from Time for Posterity

by Circumstance and Fate.
Had he simply come that day
to look himself at grand Pompeii

or was he local?
Urban type or yokel?
I really couldn’t say.

Yet here he’s on display
to a world whose gaze
he’ll never meet.

(Instead, he’s about to greet
the driver of that Renault
who’s also in the photo.)

Trevor Bailey

A Match for Shiva, ‘The Destroyer’

His brown hands clapped
together before his face
on this windy day,
the Subcontinental supplicant
lingered, it seemed, mid-prayer
to some deity whose identity
I learned when hands parted
to a swirl of smoke around
a glowing tip.

Trevor Bailey


The bell mouth of the jacaranda flower,
with stamen tongue all poise amid the spring,
is soon to summon up the summer hour
with blossom’s toll as that familiar ring
around a trunk in lyric purple patches
of the poetry that’s every dying thing.

Trevor Bailey



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