Sunday, May 3, 2015

Poems about Joy: Playlist for May 1, 2015


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Breakfast 

By  Mary Lamb  

 

 

A dinner party, coffee, tea,

 

Sandwich, or supper, all may be

 

In their way pleasant. But to me

 

Not one of these deserves the praise

 

That welcomer of new-born days,

 

A breakfast, merits; ever giving

 

Cheerful notice we are living

 

Another day refreshed by sleep,

 

When its festival we keep.

 

Now although I would not slight

 

Those kindly words we use ‘Good night’,

 

Yet parting words are words of sorrow,

 

And may not vie with sweet ‘Good Morrow’,

 

With which again our friends we greet,

 

When in the breakfast-room we meet,

 

At the social table round,

 

Listening to the lively sound

 

Of those notes which never tire,

 

Of urn, or kettle on the fire.

 

Sleepy Robert never hears

 

Or urn, or kettle; he appears

 

When all have finished, one by one

 

Dropping off, and breakfast done.

 

Yet has he too his own pleasure,

 

His breakfast hour’s his hour of leisure;

 

And, left alone, he reads or muses,

 

Or else in idle mood he uses

 

To sit and watch the venturous fly,

 

Where the sugar’s piled high,

 

Clambering o’er the lumps so white,

 

Rocky cliffs of sweet delight.
 
 

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: A Little Breakfast Music by Rick Sowash  (video not available)



 

An Altogether Different Language
 

By  Anne Porter  

 

 

There was a church in Umbria, Little Portion,

 

Already old eight hundred years ago.

 

It was abandoned and in disrepair

 

But it was called St. Mary of the Angels

 

For it was known to be the haunt of angels,

 

Often at night the country people

 

Could hear them singing there.

 

 

What was it like, to listen to the angels,

 

To hear those mountain-fresh, those simple voices

 

Poured out on the bare stones of Little Portion

 

In hymns of joy?

 

No one has told us.

 

Perhaps it needs another language

 

That we have still to learn,

 

An altogether different language.
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Magnificat of The Shepherds and The Angels by Michael Praetorius
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Bricks and Straw 

By  Franklin Pierce Adams  

 

 

My desk is cleared of the litter of ages;

 

Before me glitter the fair white pages;

 

My fountain pen is clean and filled,

 

And the noise of the office has long been stilled.

 

Roget’s Thesaurus is at my hand,

 

And I’m ready to do some work that’s grand,

 

Dignified, eminent, great, momentous,

 

Memorable, worthy of note, portentous,

 

Beautiful, paramount, vital, prime,

 

Stirring, eventful, august, sublime.

 

For this is the way, I have read and heard,

 

That authors look for the fitting word.

 

All of the proud ingredients mine

 

To build, like Marlowe, the mighty line.

 

But never a line from my new-filled pen

 

That couldn’t be done by a child of ten.

 

Oh, how did Shelley and how did Keats

 

Weave magic words on the fair white sheets

 

Under conditions that, were they mine,

 

I couldn’t bear? And I’d just resign.

 

Yet Milton wrote passable literature

 

Under conditions I couldn’t endure.

 

Coleridge and Chatterton did their stuff

 

Over a road that I’d christen rough.

 

Wordsworth and—soft!—could it be that they

 

Waited until they had something to say?
 
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  The Seasonings by P.D.Q. Bach
 
 
 

 

 

Extenuating Circumstances

 

By  Paul Violi  

 

 

I don’t know how fast I was going

 

but, even so, that’s still

 

an intriguing question, officer,

 

and deserves a thoughtful response.

 

With the radio unfurling

 

Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, you might

 

consider anything under 80 sacrilege.

 

Particularly on a parkway as lovely

 

as the one you’re fortunate enough

 

to patrol—and patrol so diligently.

 

A loveliness that, if observed

 

at an appropriate rate of speed,

 

affords the kind of pleasure

 

which is in itself a reminder

 

of how civilization depends

 

on an assurance of order and measure,

 

and the devotion of someone

 

like yourself to help maintain it.

 

Yes, man the measurer!

 

The incorrigible measurer.

 

And admirably precise measurements

 

they are—Not, of course, as an end

 

in themselves but, lest we

 

forget, as a means to propel

 

us into the immeasurable,

 

where it would be anybody’s guess how fast

 

the west wind was blowing

 

when it strummed a rainbow

 

and gave birth to Eros.

 

Never forget that a parkway

 

is a work of art, and the faster

 

one goes the greater the tribute

 

to its power of inspiration,

 

a lyrical propulsion that approaches

 

the spiritual and tempts—demands

 

the more intrepid of us

 

to take it from there.

 

That sense of the illimitable,

 

when we feel we are more the glory

 

than the jest or riddle of the world

 

—that’s what kicked in, albeit

 

briefly, as I approached

 

the Croton Reservoir Bridge.

 

And on a night like this, starlight

 

reignited above a snowfall’s last

 

flurry,  cockeyed headlights scanning

 

the girders overhead, eggshell

 

snowcrust flying off the hood,

 

hatching me on the wing

 

like a song breaking through prose,

 

the kind I usually sing

 

through my nose:

 

 

       So much to love,

 

          A bit less to scorn.

 

          What have I done?

 

          To what end was I born?

 

 

       To teach and delight.

 

          Delight … or offend.

 

          Luck’s been no lady,

 

          Truth a sneaky friend.

 

 

       Got the heater on full blast,

 

          Window jammed down,

 

          Odometer busted,

 

          Speedometer dead wrong:

 

       Can’t tell how fast I’m going,

 

       Don’t care how far I’ve gone.


REFLECTIVE MUSIC: "Ode To Joy" from Symphony # 9 by L. van Beethoven



 

 

 

A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1687

By  John Dryden   ssion cannot music raise and quell!
                When Jubal struck the corded shell,
Stanza 2

 

What passion cannot music raise and quell!

 

                When Jubal struck the corded shell,

 

         His list'ning brethren stood around

 

         And wond'ring, on their faces fell

 

         To worship that celestial sound:

 

Less than a god they thought there could not dwell

 

                Within the hollow of that shell

 

                That spoke so sweetly and so well.

 

What passion cannot music raise and quell!
 
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: What passion cannot music raise and quell by G. F. Handel
 
 
 
 
 

 

         His list'ning brethren stood around

         And wond'ring, on their faces fell

         To worship that celestial sound:

Less than a god they thought there could not dwell

                Within the hollow of that shell

                That spoke so sweetly and so well.

What passion cannot music raise and quell!

Stanza 2

What passion cannot music raise and quell!

                When Jubal struck the corded shell,

         His list'ning brethren stood around

         And wond'ring, on their faces fell

         To worship that celestial sound:

Less than a god they thought there could not dwell

                Within the hollow of that shell

                That spoke so sweetly and so well.

What passion cannot music raise and quell!

Stanza 2

What passion cannot music raise and quell!

                When Jubal struck the corded shell,

         His list'ning brethren stood around

         And wond'ring, on their faces fell

         To worship that celestial sound:

Less than a god they thought there could not dwell

                Within the hollow of that shell

                That spoke so sweetly and so well.

What passion cannot music raise and quell!

 

 

 

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