Saturday, October 12, 2013

Word Settings: Music written for poetry, October 11, 2013


by John Lyly (1553-1606)

Syrinx was a girl indeed,

Though now she's turned into a reed;

From that dear reed Pan's pipe does come,

A pipe that strikes Apollo dumb;

Nor flute, nor lute, nor gittern can

So chant it as the pipe of Pan:

Cross-gartered swains and dairy girls,

With faces smug and round as pearls,

When Pan's shrill pipe begins to play,

With dancing wear out night and day;

The bagpipe's drone his hum lays by,

When Pan sounds up his minstrelsy;

His minstrelsy! O base! this quill,

Which at my mouth with wind I fill,

Puts me in mind, though her I miss,

That still my Syrinx' lips I kiss.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Syrinx by Claude Debussy



By Edgar Allan Poe

The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere -
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir -
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Here once, through and alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul -
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll -
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole -
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.

Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere -
Our memories were treacherous and sere, -
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!) -
We noted not the dim lake of Auber
(Though once we had journeyed down here) -
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

And now, as the night was senescent
And star-dials pointed to morn -
As the star-dials hinted of morn -
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn -
Astarte's bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.

And I said: "She is warmer than Dian;
She rolls through an ether of sighs -
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion
To point us the path to the skies -
To the Lethean peace of the skies -
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes -
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes."

But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said: "Sadly this star I mistrust -
Her pallor I strangely mistrust:
Ah, hasten! -ah, let us not linger!
Ah, fly! -let us fly! -for we must."
In terror she spoke, letting
sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust -
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust -
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

I replied: "This is nothing but dreaming:
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sybilic splendour is beaming
With Hope and in
Beauty tonight! -
See! -it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will
lead us aright -
We safely may trust to a gleaming,
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night."

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom -
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb -
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said: "What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?"
She replied: "Ulalume -Ulalume -
'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!"

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere -
As the leaves that were withering and sere;
And I cried: "It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed -I journeyed down here! -
That I brought a dread burden down here -
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon hath tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber -
This misty mid region of Weir -
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir."
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Ulalume by Joseph Holbrooke

Sonnet 49

By Pablo Neruda


It's today: all of yesterday dropped away
among the fingers of the light and the sleeping eyes.
Tomorrow will come on its green footsteps;
no one can stop the river of the dawn.

No one can stop the river of your hands,
your eyes and their sleepiness, my dearest.
You are the trembling of time, which passes
between the vertical light and the darkening sky.

The sky folds its wings over you,
lifting you, carrying you to my arms
with its punctual, mysterious courtesy.
That is why I sing to the day and to the moon,
to the sea, to time, to all the planets,
to your daily voice, to your nocturnal skin.

It's today: all of yesterday dropped away
among the fingers of the light and the sleeping eyes.
Tomorrow will come on its green footsteps;
no one can stop the river of the dawn.

It's today, it's today...
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sonnet 49 by Luciana Souza


Sonnet 99

By Pablo Neruda 

Other days will come.  It'll be understood,
the silence of plants and planets,
and how many pure things will take place!
Violins will have the smell of the moon!

Bread will be, perhaps, like you;
it will have your voice, your wheat-like condition,
and other things will speak with your voice . . .
the lost horses of autumn.

Though it won't be as it is meant to be,
love will fill grand kegs
like the antique honey of shepherds,

and in the dust of my heart
(where there will be stupendous
storage sheds),
you'll come and go among the melons.
Sonnet 99 by Luciana Souza


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Poetry about Water: Playlist for October 4, 2013

Psychoanalysis of Water

By Forrest Gander b. 1956

The clock here is quiet.  

Into the rain’s applause,  

a woman rises

fatigued. Tablets

dissolve in a glass by the bed.  

The wind lifts, branches  

animating inconsonant darkness.

She undoes her gown,  

lays it over the bedpost.  

Seductive leg hair. Almost

dawn, she makes coffee like that. 


Low thunder, glints

of lightning, the dog’s

concern. Rain on the roof,  

friends walking across my grave,  

her mother told her, that’s all  

I listen for.

And why not the hiss and wake  

of cars on the wet road

bursting into transparence under tents  

of streetlight, winking out  

into afterglow. Glances that catch  

anonymous faces at windows  

in early lit houses like her own. 


This way she drifts off, mesmerically.  

The bathtub overflowing.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Poeme elegiaque by Eugene Ysaye



Fountains in the sea

By Marin Sorescu 1936–1996


Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.

Cunning life keeps asking for more and then a drop more.

Our ankles are weighted with lead, we delve under the wave.

We bend to our spades, we survive the force of the gusher.



Our bodies fountain with sweat in the deeps of the sea,

Our forehead aches and holds like a sunken prow.

We are out of breath, divining the heart of the geyser,

Constellations are bobbing like corks above on the swell.  


Earth is a waterwheel, the buckets go up and go down,

But to keep the whole aqueous architecture standing its ground

We must make a ring with our bodies and dance out a round

On the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water.



Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.

Come rain, come thunder, come deluged dams washed away,

Our thirst is unquenchable. A cloud in the water’s a siren.

We become two shades, deliquescent, drowning in song.



My love, under the tall sky of hope

Our love and our love alone

Keeps dowsing for water.

Sinking the well of each other, digging together.

Each one the other’s phantom limb in the sea.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: String Quartet in F (1st movement) by Maurice Ravel


In a Garden

By Amy Lowell 1874–1925


Gushing from the mouths of stone men

To spread at ease under the sky

In granite-lipped basins,

Where iris dabble their feet

And rustle to a passing wind,

The water fills the garden with its rushing,

In the midst of the quiet of close-clipped lawns. 


Damp smell the ferns in tunnels of stone,  

Where trickle and plash the fountains,  

Marble fountains, yellowed with much water. 

Splashing down moss-tarnished steps  

It falls, the water;

And the air is throbbing with it;

With its gurgling and running;

With its leaping, and deep, cool murmur. 


And I wished for night and you.

I wanted to see you in the swimming-pool,  

White and shining in the silver-flecked water. 

While the moon rode over the garden,  

High in the arch of night,

And the scent of the lilacs was heavy with stillness.  


Night and the water, and you in your whiteness, bathing!

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Reflections In the Water by Claude Debussy


Painting A Wave

By Howard Moss 1922–1987


“Painting a wave requires no system,”

The painter said, painting a wave.

“Systems may get you flotsam and jetsam,

Seaweed and so forth. But never a wave.”


There was a scroll or fine-lined curve

On the canvas first, and then what looked

Like hair flying or grayish nerves,

Which began to move as the painter worked.


“Painting the sea is a lot of trouble;

It never stops still for a moment, so

I try to make it internal, mental,

As though I stopped it, then let it go.”


Something began to pulse and tumble

Out of the brushes, the ink, the chalk;

A long black line commenced to tremble,

Then, like a fishline, started to jerk . . .


With what at the end? “I think I’ve caught it.”

A drop of water hung by a hair.

“If I could only stop it a minute!”

The drop began to race somewhere, 


Spreading out in every direction,

A bird of thread, caught in a storm,

Trying to say, “Connection! Action!”

But in the end it was very calm. 


Soon there was water under water,

And over the sand a sun . . . a moon?

Who could have seen that wave of water

One night ago? Or a thousand and one? 


Who could have seen the lid of water

With its thin mascara of buoys and corks,

With its lined horizon’s distant glimmer

Of maybe a skyline like New York’s?


Now there will be that morning evening

Tide dyeing the water’s pulse,

The wave drying in ink. The Wave.

Moving, momentous, motionless.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Suite for Violin, Clarinet and Piano by Darius Milhaud