Hunterdon Poets Workshop: Lia Di Stefano

The Composition of Air

For Wayne Van Cortlandt Smith, January, 29, 1939 – June 9, 2018 

“Did you know the first three notes of…” 

(What was it?)

“are the same as …?” 

Why didn’t I pay attention…then?
Capture those motes of precious ‘did you knows?‘
not understanding how important they would be now—
the ache to remember their blessed curiosity,
so acute?

But I didn’t. 

But I remember,
these are the kinds of things
only Wayne Smith would know and declare,
as casually or intensely, as he might share
his newly found passion for the periodic tables,

would know how Johann Sebastian
breathed the same measures of air,
centuries before they made their rounds again
to pass through the alveoli of Debussy,
to Bill Evans…and on, and on.

Notes filling the lungs
of those born to make sense
of the myriad juxtapositional possibilities
swarming the universe—
passing the rest of us by on a breeze.

That air, only some of us can divine—
from lungs to brain to heart—
allotted their chosen place,
by chosen fingers, then shared—
became quintessentially Wayne’s notes.

Three, might fill the lungs of
some yet unborn jazz-child
as it gasps its first breath,
hears its first notes. 

Lia Di Stefano

About the Author

lia di stefano hunterdon poets workshop

Lia Di Stefano, is an award-winning graphic designer, painter, and photographer. Her poems integrate her life-long love of words with the clarity of observation found in her visual work. Sometimes introspective, sometimes wry, she examines the complexities and simple truths of ‘what is’ in a world our minds can’t always fathom. Lia divides her time between two rivers—the Hudson in Weehawken, and the South Branch of the Raritan in Califon. Her work can be found in several online publications, and she is also preparing a manuscript for her first chapbook.

About the Hunterdon Poets Workshop

“It is necessary to any originality to have the courage to be an amateur.” ~Wallace Stevens

“Imagination is the instrument of compassion.” ~Zbigniew Herbert

The Hunterdon Poets Workshop is a monthly (September-May) Sunday afternoon gathering of published and emerging writers in our community. Our dialogue on poetry crosses generations and cultures, as participants range in age from the early 20s to the mid-90s. Many bring drafts of poems to share or come for a poetry prompt. The workshop size is limited to eight, and members are always thoughtful and encouraging. It’s a privilege for me to help nurture the voices of talented poets and writers in our Workshop.

Vasiliki Katsarou, Instructor