Jean L. Kreiling


Ode to George

“The Man I Love” romances me with song
and makes me feel as if “The World Is Mine.”
The world, though, wasn’t his for very long:
George Gershwin died at not quite thirty-nine.

His melodies clear up “A Foggy Day”;
his “Fascinating Rhythm” jauntily
convinces me that “Love Is Here to Stay”—
or else it helps me whine, “But Not For Me.”

I’m partial to his wordsmith brother, too;
like Ira, I confess “I Love To Rhyme.”
But I’d tell George, “I’ve Got a Crush on You”
that will endure well past the “Summertime.”

What he would rather hear is more acclaim
at venues like the Met and Carnegie;
he did “Nice Work” at both, but made his name
in halls much less renowned for snobbery.

His classical finesse made Broadway fizz;
no song “By Strauss” could have enchanted more.
From “Swanee” on, success and fame were his,
but not long life. He couldn’t write that score.

Death didn’t “Call the Whole Thing Off.” I’ve been
adoring George for decades, happily
pretending I was there when “Love Walked In”—
and no, “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.”

How to Knit

Make loops loop into loops and then
do that again, again, again.


Jean L. Kreiling is the author of three collections of poetry: Shared History (2022), Arts & Letters & Love (2018), and The Truth in Dissonance (2014). Her work has been honored with the Able Muse Write Prize, the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters Sonnet Prize, the Kelsay Books Metrical Poetry Prize, two Laureates’ Prizes in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, three New England Poetry Club prizes, the Plymouth Poetry Contest prize, and the String Poet Prize. An Associate Poetry Editor for Able Muse: A Review of Poetry, Prose & Art and a longtime member of the Powow River Poets, she lives on the coast of Massachusetts.