Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Playlist II: Bernard Goldhirsch, Robert Hayden, Gordon Gilbert, Thomas M. McDade, Robert Frost

1. SUNDAY by Bernard Goldhirsch

                               With his back to the dunes,

                                                His tennis-tanned legs

                                                Crossed at the ankles,                                                 

                                                Harry reclines on a beach chair.                                           

                                                He watches, a laptop 

                                                Balanced on his hard won abs, 

                                                A broker interviewed 

                                                 On a book talk. 

                                             Offshore,  a shark-nosed ydroplane                                               

                                                 Ferries small time gamblers, 

                                                 Pockets and purses full of beads, 

                                                 Texting their grandkids.                                    

                                                 Aroused,  the waves breathe heavily.    

                                               Whitman blows;                                                                             

                                                  Melville breaches, 

                                                 And a jaeger robs a gull.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Prelude, Fugue and Riffs by Leonard Bernstein

2. THOSE WINTER SUNDAYS by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he’d call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love’s austere and lonely offices?
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Romance, Op. 11 by Gerald Finzi

3. KANSAS by Gordon Gilbert

Blackbirds on the scarecrow's arms.
Buzzards in the sky
That circle round.
The field corn stretches on and on,
Like this two-lane highway, coming, going.

I could lose myself on down this road,
Or in these fields, between the long corn rows,
Except for those sharp eyes above.
I think they're hoping I'll run dry
Before I reach a place beyond.
I know they're watching way up high
For something down here, maybe me, to die.

As for those birds that rest on outstretched arms,
Like me, I guess, they've learned they need not fear
The images that men create to make us all afraid.
It took me some long years to learn the same.

O Kansas, in your flatlands
Of a sunny summer morning, I can see
Where I'm headed, though I'm going nowhere,
Knowing where I've been is so long gone,
And knowing that it doesn't reallly matter.
Life is just your fields of green and gold,
The birds below, the birds above, and this long road
That stretches on ahead of me,
That stretches on as far as eye can see,
That stretches on forever.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: The Plow That Broke the Plains by Vrigil Thomson

 4. ALL SOULS CAFE by Thomas M. McDade

A tall man,
disciple-haired, bearded and thin
says the sign's last neon word
should rhyme with "waif"
since the accent acute got away.
Everyone here, a time or another
was a blues howling stray.
But never again in fluoresence dim
as alleys of sleep
where memories hang
like polyester blouses and shirts
made silky through miracles
of St. Vincent de Paul.
Hooks, clasps and buttons
fly undone
and espresso is free.
Collars and cuffs are
the melodious lips
of crooners and horns.
Monograms are taboo
but pockets the needy
may calmly pick
are plentiful.
Hopes run in pastels
take them folded or hung
but folks accept
even wrinkled ones.
Reflections are speckled
or ruffled to order.
Even the lint is stupendous!
The tall man says it's a trip,
it's a trip,
Take all your baggage aboard!
If you feel like a doze
the help fluffs the pillows,
pours decaf, sings lullabies
like a Mormon choir.
At the All Soul's Cafe,
it is safe,
you are safe.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cafe Music by Paul Schoenfield

         5. TO EARTHWARD by Robert Frost  

Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air

That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of--was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Downhill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they're gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.

I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt,
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length. 

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Minor (Movement 3) by Sergei Prokofiev



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