Jeff Phelps

Psalm for Musicians

Praise to musicians
who set up in small rooms,
who travel with playlist
and guitar case and hope for
venues that hum with expectation.
Praise to the weary dad roadies
who wear pride on their sleeves
for this is the life they once
wished for themselves.
Praise to damp corner pubs,
empty at seven o’clock
on a Wednesday evening,
to sauce bottles still on tables,
to barmen who say:
Are you the music?
You can set up anywhere.
It’s normally busier than this.
Praise to the couple
just finishing their drinks
who stay because
it would be rude to leave,
to amps, cables and speakers,
to obsessive tuning.
Praise to the songs unheard
over chatter from the bar,
to: this one’s for Melanie in the corner,
to feedback and the valiant
first to clap, to requests,
duff notes and laughter.
Praise to all musicians
who stand up and sing it anyway
and have no concern
for who is listening or why.

Jeff Phelps’s poetry has been widely published and anthologised including in The Everyday Poet (Michael O’Mara Books). He was second prize winner in the Stand open poetry competition with the narrative poem ‘River Passage’ which has been produced as a CD with piano music by Dan Phelps. His poetry booklet, Wolverhampton Madonna is published by Offa’s Press. He has two novels published by Tindal Street Press.