Haiku for two born Aug. 31, 1945

George and Violet
Take a bow; your boy done good
You moondancin’ fools

Violet sang, danced
George was an electrician,
Killer record stash

Mahalia and Ray
Jelly Roll, Solomon Burke
Woody Guthrie, Bird

Hank Williams Sr.
Jimmie Rodgers, Lead Belly
And Muddy Waters

Your boy Van listened
Soaked it all up, spun that stuff
Into his own gold

Gave him a guitar
Like so many parents do
He learned the sax too

Played on street corners
In Belfast, then hotel clubs
Five sets for sailors

For 20 minutes
Jammed “G-L-O-R-I-A”
Must’ve been magic

And it never stopped
“Astral Weeks,” “Moondance” made him
Known around the world

Jackie Wilson said,
“I’m in heaven when you smile”
And we smiled along

“Domino,” “Wild Night”
And it wasn’t just the hits
Van followed his muse

“Beautiful Vision”
And “Inarticulate Speech”
Wave upon “Wavelength”

Like too few others
Van calls a mystical soul
Whenever he plays

Maybe that’s why he’s
Still so good, so right, so Van
Happy birthday, man

That very same day,
In ’45, Tel Aviv,
Itzhak Perlman’s born

The boy who one day
Would take and play Yehudi’s
Stradivarius

But first polio
Weakened his legs, but never
His spirit to play

Ed Sullivan gave
Him his break in ’58
— Like Elvis, Beatles

His music pulled back
The Iron Curtain — Moscow,
Warsaw, Budapest

Played for presidents
Wrote the “Schlinder’s List” soundtrack
Rock star, with a bow

Van the Man, Perlman
Share a birthday, the passion
Hear it, pass it on

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