Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wind and Rain: Playlist for November 2, 2012


All Hallows’ Eve

By Dorothea Tanning 1910–2012 

Be perfect, make it otherwise.

Yesterday is torn in shreds.

Lightning’s thousand sulfur eyes

Rip apart the breathing beds.

Hear bones crack and pulverize.

Doom creeps in on rubber treads.

Countless overwrought housewives,

Minds unraveling like threads,

Try lipstick shades to tranquilize

Fears of age and general dreads.

Sit tight, be perfect, swat the spies,

Don’t take faucets for fountainheads.

Drink tasty antidotes. Otherwise

You and the werewolf: newlyweds.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cello Sonata (movement 5) by Benjamin Britten
 

First Storm and Thereafter

By Scott Cairns b. 1954 

What I notice first within

          this rough scene fixed

in memory is the rare

          quality of its lightning, as if

those bolts were clipped

          from a comic book, pasted

on low cloud, or fashioned

          with cardboard, daubed

with gilt then hung overhead

          on wire and fine hooks.

What I hear most clearly

          within that thunder now

is its grief—a moan, a long

          lament echoing, an ache.

And the rain? Raucous enough,

          pounding, but oddly

musical, and, well,

          eager to entertain, solicitous.

 

No storm since has been framed

          with such matter-of-fact

artifice, nor to such comic

          effect. No, the thousand-plus

storms since then have turned

          increasingly artless,

arbitrary, bearing—every

          one of them—a numbing burst. 

 

And today, from the west a gust

          and a filling pressure

pulsing in the throat—offering

          little or nothing to make light of.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: World To Come (movement 3) by David Lang
 
 

                                                                             

Fortuna

By Thomas Carlyle 1795–1881 

The wind blows east, the wind blows west,

And the frost falls and the rain:

A weary heart went thankful to rest,

And must rise to toil again, ’gain,

And must rise to toil again. 

 

The wind blows east, the wind blows west,

And there comes good luck and bad;

The thriftiest man is the cheerfulest;

’Tis a thriftless thing to be sad, sad,

’Tis a thriftless thing to be sad.  

 

The wind blows east, the wind blows west;

Ye shall know a tree by its fruit:

This world, they say, is worst to the best;—

But a dastard has evil to boot, boot,

But a dastard has evil to boot.  

 

The wind blows east, the wind blows west;

What skills it to mourn or to talk?

A journey I have, and far ere I rest;

I must bundle my wallets and walk, walk,

I must bundle my wallets and walk.  

 

The wind does blow as it lists alway;

Canst thou change this world to thy mind?

The world will wander its own wise way;

I also will wander mine, mine,

I also will wander mine.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Shallow Brown, by Percy Grainger
 

Storm Windows

By Howard Nemerov 1920–1991

People are putting up storm windows now,  

Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain  

Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon,  

I saw storm windows lying on the ground,  

Frame-full of rain; through the water and glass

I saw the crushed grass, how it seemed to stream  

Away in lines like seaweed on the tide

Or blades of wheat leaning under the wind.

The ripple and splash of rain on the blurred glass  

Seemed that it briefly said, as I walked by,  

Something I should have liked to say to you,

Something ... the dry grass bent under the pane  

Brimful of bouncing water ... something of  

A swaying clarity which blindly echoes

This lonely afternoon of memories

And missed desires, while the wintry rain  

(Unspeakable, the distance in the mind!)

Runs on the standing windows and away.
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  Sonata for Violin and Piano (movement 3) by Cesar Franck
 

 

No Moon Floods the Memory of That Night

By Etheridge Knight 1931–1991 

No moon floods the memory of that night

only the rain I remember the cold rain

against our faces and mixing with your tears

only the rain I remember the cold rain

and your mouth soft and warm

no moon no stars no jagged pain

of lightning only my impotent tongue

and the red rage within my brain

knowing that the chilling rain was our forever

even as I tried to explain:  

 

“A revolutionary is a doomed man

with no certainties but love and history.”

“But our children must grow up with certainties

and they will make the revolution.”

“By example we must show the way so plain

that our children can go neither right

nor left but straight to freedom.”

“No,” you said. And you left.  

 

No moon floods the memory of that night

only the rain I remember the cold rain

and praying that like the rain

returns to the sky you would return to me again.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Etude in c-sharp minor, Op. 25/ 7 by Frederic Chopin
 

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