Saturday, May 30, 2015

Poetry about Growing Old: Playlist for May 29, 2015

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Sonnet  60: Like as the waves make towards the pebbl'd shore

 

By  William Shakespeare  

 

 

Like as the waves make towards the pebbl'd shore,

 

So do our minutes hasten to their end;

 

Each changing place with that which goes before,

 

In sequent toil all forwards do contend.

 

Nativity, once in the main of light,

 

Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,

 

Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,

 

And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.

 

Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth

 

And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,

 

Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,

 

And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:

 

And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,

 

Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
 
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Lachmirae by John Dowland
 
 

 

 

Of the Last Verses in the Book 

By  Edmund Waller  

 

 

When we for age could neither read nor write,

 

The subject made us able to indite.

 

The soul, with nobler resolutions deckt,

 

The body stooping, does herself erect:

 

No mortal parts are requisite to raise

 

Her, that unbodied can her Maker praise.

 

 

The seas are quiet, when the winds give o’er,

 

So calm are we, when passions are no more:

 

For then we know how vain it was to boast

 

Of fleeting things, so certain to be lost.

 

Clouds of affection from our younger eyes

 

Conceal that emptiness, which age descries.

 

 

The soul’s dark cottage, batter’d and decay’d,

 

Lets in new light through chinks that time has made;

 

Stronger by weakness, wiser men become

 

As they draw near to their eternal home:

 

Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,

 

That stand upon the threshold of the new.
 
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Piano Sonata No. 32 (2md movement) by L. van Beethoven
 
 

 
 

Women Who Love Angels 

By  Judith Ortiz Cofer 

 

 

They are thin

 

and rarely marry, living out

 

their long lives

 

in spacious rooms, French doors

 

giving view to formal gardens

 

where aromatic flowers

 

grow in profusion.

 

They play their pianos

 

in the late afternoon

 

tilting their heads

 

at a gracious angle

 

as if listening

 

to notes pitched above

 

the human range.

 

Age makes them translucent;

 

each palpitation of their hearts

 

visible at temple or neck.

 

When they die, it’s in their sleep,

 

their spirits shaking gently loose

 

from a hostess too well bred

 

to protest.
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Song of The Angel by John Taverner
 
 

 

 

Lord Is Not a Word 

By  Christian Wiman  

 

 

Lord is not a word.

 

Song is not a salve.

 

Suffer the child, who lived

 

on sunlight and solitude.

 

Savor the man, craving

 

earth like an aftertaste.

 

To discover in one's hand

 

two local stones the size

 

of a dead man's eyes

 

saves no one, but to fling them

 

with a grace you did not know

 

you knew, to bring them

 

skimming homing

 

over blue, is to discover

 

the river from which they came.

 

Mild merciful amnesia

 

through which I've moved

 

as through a blue atmosphere

 

of almost and was,

 

how is it now,

 

like ruins unearthed by ruin,

 

my childhood should rise?

 

Lord, suffer me to sing

 

these wounds by which I am made

 

and marred, savor this creature

 

whose aloneness you ease and are.
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Alto Rhapsody, by Johannes Brahms
 
 

 

  

Sonnet 

By  Alice Notley  

 

 

The late Gracie Allen was a very lucid comedienne,

 

Especially in the way that lucid means shining and bright.

 

What her husband George Burns called her illogical logic

 

Made a halo around our syntax and ourselves as we laughed.

 

 

George Burns most often was her artful inconspicuous straight man.

 

He could move people about stage, construct skits and scenes, write

 

And gather jokes. They were married as long as ordinary magic

 

Would allow, thirty-eight years, until Gracie Allen's death.

 

 

In her fifties Gracie Allen developed a heart condition.

 

She would call George Burns when her heart felt funny and fluttered

 

He'd give her a pill and they'd hold each other till the palpitation

 

Stopped—just a few minutes, many times and pills. As magic fills

 

Then fulfilled must leave a space, one day Gracie Allen's

 

               heart fluttered

 

And hurt and stopped. George Burns said unbelievingly to the doctor,

 

               "But I still have some of the pills."
 
 
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: She's Funny That Way, sung by Gene Austin
 
 
 
 
 

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