An Aging Poet Writes An Homage to a Memorable Classmate Set to Music

I don’t know exactly how Adeline Compton came into my life, but she was twelve when she appeared, and this poem, “Adeline Compton,” records that moment. It has been set to music by Julie Last, the sound engineer and singer who recorded Brushstrokes and Glances and Far from Algiers, my two books of poetry. “Adeline Compton” is one of the poems in Brushstrokes and Glances. If you enjoy this poem, you will probably enjoy the book.

But her story does not end here. She grows up and becomes a major character in Light Piercing Water, a trilogy of novels that I hope you will someday be able to read. In the novel she is an English conservator of ancient musical instruments and an Aikido adept. Her life is intertwined with the lives of an Arab-American Navy hero and merchant seaman, a former IRA bomber who runs a bar on Tenth Avenue in Manhattan, a Chechen arms dealer and many other colorful characters.

Adeline is in some ways my homage to a memorable English girl who attended a boarding school with me in West Islip, New York, during World War II. She ran like the wind and served me air tea in a gazebo in painted tin cups. I have called an unpublished poetry manuscript Air Tea With Dolores, but I remain uncertain of whether it’s finished. I think Dolores would like Adeline.

Del’s book, Far From Algiers:

New review of Far from Algiers:

Artists Hill, Literal Latte’s fiction first prize:

His blog:

His mother’s art:

His aunt’s art: