Franklin P. Adams

(15 November 1881 – 23 March 1960 / Chicago, Illinois)

Variation on a Theme


June 30th, 1919

Notably fond of music, I dote on a
clearer tone
Than ever was blared by a bugle or zoomed
by a saxophone;
And the sound that opens the gates for me of
a Paradise revealed
Is something akin to the note revered by the
blesséd Eugene Field,
Who sang in pellucid phrasing that I perfectly
will recall
Of the clink of the ice in the pitcher that the
boy brings up the hall.
But sweeter to me than the sparrow's song or
the goose's autumn honks
Is the sound of the ice in the shaker as the
barkeeper mixes a Bronx.

Between the dark and the daylight, when I'm
worried about The Tower,
Comes a pause in the day's tribulations that
is known as the cocktail hour;
And my soul is sad and jaded, and my heart
is a thing forlorn,
And I view the things I have written with a
sickening, scathing scorn.
Oh, it's then I fare with some other slave who
is hired for the things he writes
To a Den of Sin where they mingle gin--such
as Lipton's, Mouquin's or Whyte's,
And my spirit thrills to a music sweeter than
Sullivan or Puccini--
The swash of the ice in the shaker as he mixes
a Dry martini.

The drys will assert that metallic sound is the
selfsame canon made
By the ice in a shaker that holds a drink
like orange or lemonade;
But on the word of a traveled man and a
bard who has been around,
The sound of tin on ice and gin is a snappier,
happier sound.
And I mean to hymn, as soon as I have a
moment of leisure time,
The chill susurrus of cocktail ice in an adequae
piece of rhyme.
But I've just had an invitation to hark, at a
beckoning bar,
To the sound of the ice in the shaker as the
barkeeper mixes a Star.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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