Friday, October 19, 2012

Poems about Desire (Playlist for October 19, 2012 )

1. Take, Oh, Take Those Lips Away
by William Shakespeare

Take, oh, take those lips away

That so sweetly were forsworn

And those eyes, like break of day,

Lights that do mislead the morn;

But my kisses bring again,

Seals of love, though sealed in vain.

Hide, oh, hide those hills of snow,

Which thy frozen bosom bears,

On whose tops the pinks that grow

Are of those that April wears;

But first set my poor heart free,

Bound in those icy chains by thee.

 REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Take, Oh, Take Those Lips Away by Roger Quilter
2. The Unquarried Blue of Those Depths Is All But Blinding
by Ashley Anna McHugh
There are some things we just don’t talk about—
Not even in the morning, when we’re waking,
When your calloused fingers tentatively walk
The slope of my waist:
                                         How love’s a rust-worn boat,
Abandoned at the dock—and who could doubt
Waves lick their teeth, eyeing its hull? We’re taking
Our wreckage as a promise, so we don’t talk.
We wet the tired oars, tide drawing us out.
We understand there’s nothing to be said.
Both of us know the dangers of this sea,
Warned by the tide-worn driftwood of our pasts—.
But we’ve already strayed from the harbor. We thread
A slow wake though the water—then silently,
We start to row, and will for as long as this lasts.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Water Garden by David Ott (video not available; in it's place is "Reflections In the Water" by Claude Debussy
3. In Muted Tone
by Paul Verlaine
Translated By Norman R. Shapiro  
Gently, let us steep our love
In the silence deep, as thus,
Branches arching high above
Twine their shadows over us.
Let us blend our souls as one,
Hearts’ and senses’ ecstasies,
Evergreen, in unison
With the pines’ vague lethargies.
Dim your eyes and, heart at rest,
Freed from all futile endeavor,
Arms crossed on your slumbering breast,
Banish vain desire forever.
Let us yield then, you and I,
To the waftings, calm and sweet,
As their breeze-blown lullaby
Sways the gold grass at your feet.
And, when night begins to fall
From the black oaks, darkening,
In the nightingale’s soft call
Our despair will, solemn, sing.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Five Melodies by Sergei Prokofiev
4. I Knew A Woman
by Theodore Roethke
I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;  
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek). 
How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,  
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;  
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin;  
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;  
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing we did make). 
Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;  
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;  
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,  
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved). 
Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:  
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone. 
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:  
(I measure time by how a body sways).
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cafe Music (movement 2) by Paul Schoenfield
5. When to Her Lute Corinna Sings
by Thomas Campion
When to her lute Corinna sings,
Her voice revives the leaden strings,
And doth in highest notes appear
As any challenged echo clear;
But when she doth of mourning speak,
Ev’n with her sighs the strings do break. 
And as her lute doth live or die,
Let by her passion, so must I:
For when of pleasure she doth sing,
My thoughts enjoy a sudden spring,
But if she doth of sorrow speak,
Ev’n from my heart the strings do break.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Lute Songs by John Dowland

Friday, October 12, 2012

Playlist for October 12, 2012

1. Red Moon Eclogues

By Mark Tredinnick  


Every year the moon inches away from us. In time she’ll swim too far out

to anchor us at our habitual angle to the sun, and that will be the end

of the well-tempered and recursive wildness

                                                             that conceived and suffered us,

and that will be the end of us. We have just two

billion years to thank her for our time here. Eternity has a use-by date


But it’ll be up long before that, and in the meantime,

I sit on the cold step of the cowshed and watch the world throw its shadow

on the moon like a horseblanket;

                                                             in the meantime the moon reddens

in the refraction of all our dawns and sunsets, in a kind of transfigured cosmic

smog. An apocalypse that lasts three hours until it’s time to go to bed.


And in the meantime on the floor of my shed, blue planets sing in the hands

of children as they once sang in war. Two small worlds forged to cry terribly down

like creation unravelling upon one’s foes now

                                                               make a peaceful clangour on my secular desk.

One spins from its orbit and quakes and chips its cerulean shell on the floor

of heaven. The tectonics of play. We are loved like this, and this is how it ends.


I’m arguing a lot with death these days. And last night I found myself

in court poised to clinch the case against the absurdity of life.

Certainly, this was sleeping and certainly

                                                            I was dreaming and I’d been losing the thread,

but all at once I saw where my argument must run, and I was running it there

when my small boy cried and woke me and I went to him and now I’ll never know.


Spring now, and the river has drawn back her bow. The lark ascends

from the cd-player, and black ducks sip brown ditchwater in the yard.

Everything’s in bud or leaf, last of all

                                                              the silver poplars and the Osage Orange,

trees flaring even now in the backyard of the childhood of my friend, the poet,

the poet’s son. The world happens twice. Draw the linen string taut and shoot.



One lives in paradox. Debussy plays; trucks flounder past like gods

who’ve lost control of their machines. In between one makes one’s life up.

The sound is the price you pay for the sight

                                                             that meets you every morning and half

of what you paid for the house. The shed puts the perfect sky in her pocket,

and possums rut in the roof. Eternity is in rehearsal, and this is its soundtrack.



Brad mows an acre an hour. A general at ease on his machine, a banker

in overalls, he’s rationalised our small republic on one tank of gas. And this now—

cutgrass at four o’clock—is how

                                                              hope smells. Some days I can see no way out:

the body of the world in entropy. But today I sit among the ruins

of the afternoon, and I cannot see how it can’t all go on forever.



Meantime the moon has made herself new again, and there has been rain.

The Marulan hills, which had almost forgotten the taste of the word,

are spelling green again this afternoon,

                                                             and there’s water in a lake that’s been a paddock

for a decade. Three black cockatoos, and then three more, fly over as I take

the southwest road. And into all this panoply of hope, the new moon falls.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp by Claude Debussy (1st movement)
 2. The Quiet Hour
by Jonathan David

When the hour is hushed and you lie still,

So quiet is the room about me

It seems perhaps that you are gone,

Sunken to a marble sleep.

I hear no sound; my quiet will,

Passive as the lambs at rest,

Stirs not the quaint forgetfulness

But only murmurs, “Sleep is strange!”

The low moon at the lattice going

Rests no more quietly than you at peace.

Hushed is the candle; the hour is late,

And I, poor witness of extreme change,


I think perhaps then heaven opens

Like the unfolding of your hand in sleep—

Your cold white hand—to close again—

While I sit staring at the marble gate.

 REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Piano Trio by Maurice Ravel (1st movement)

 3. Song of the Sea to the Shore

By Robert Fanning

Unraveling velvet, wave after wave, driven  

by wind, unwinding by storm, by gravity thrown—  

however, heaving to reach you, to find you, I've striven  

undulant, erosive, blown—   

or lying flat as glass for your falling clear  

down: I can't swallow you. So why  

have I felt I've reached you—as two reflected stars,  

surfaced, lie near—as if the sky's    


close element is one in me, where starfish  

cleave to stones—if you're so far?  

I've touched you, I know, but my rush        

subsides; our meetings only leave desire's   


fleeting trace. Every place I touch you  

changes shape. Shore, lie down—  

undo. I'll fill your thirsty bones with blue.  

I'll flood your every cave and we'll be one.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  The Enchanted Lake by Anatoli Liadov


4. Song of the Shore to the Sea

By Robert Fanning

It's never enough being one. Why do I hope

to contain you: always undoing and undone;

every place you touch me changes shape.

It's not my way to just lie down;



to sink, effaced and full. If you

swallow me, you're drained, and half

of us is gone. Desire's fulfillment is two,

not one, or our tidal meetings are through.



So hurl your wet force forward, sea,

take me wave by wave. Pearl maker, pull

me deep; our one's a need, a momentary

bliss. What I erect, you spill—



castles, boulders, cliffs. My love's endurance

grain by grain; your adoration's rain.

Touch my bones, my canyon's carved evidence.

Even the moon who moves you is stone.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Barcarolle No. 4 in A-flat, Op. 44 by Gabriel Faure


Under Stars
Under Stars

By Tess Gallagher


The sleep of this night deepens

because I have walked coatless from the house

carrying the white envelope.

All night it will say one name

in its little tin house by the roadside.



I have raised the metal flag

so its shadow under the roadlamp

leaves an imprint on the rain-heavy bushes.

Now I will walk back

thinking of the few lights still on

in the town a mile away.



In the yellowed light of a kitchen

the millworker has finished his coffee,

his wife has laid out the white slices of bread

on the counter. Now while the bed they have left

is still warm, I will think of you, you

who are so far away

you have caused me to look up at the stars.



Tonight they have not moved

from childhood, those games played after dark.

Again I walk into the wet grass

toward the starry voices. Again, I

am the found one, intimate, returned

by all I touch on the way.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Nocturne, by Aaron Copland


Friday, October 5, 2012

Playlist for October 5, 2012

1. Annabel Lee
by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Concerto for Small Orchestra and Solo Violin (Movement 2)
(no video available at this time, however here is Finzi's Adagio espressivo)

2. Blur
by Andrew Hudgins

Storms of perfume lift from honeysuckle,
lilac, clover—and drift across the threshold,
outside reclaiming inside as its home.
Warm days whirl in a bright unnumberable blur,
a cup—a grail brimmed with delirium
and humbling boredom both.  I was a boy,
I thought I'd always be a boy, pell—mell,
mean, and gaily murderous one moment
as I decapitated daises with a stick,
then overcome with summer's opium,
numb—slumberous.  I thought I'd always be a boy,
each day its own millennium, each
one thousand years of daylight ending in
the night watch, summer's pervigilium,
which I could never keep because by sunset
I was an old man.  I was Methuselah,
the oldest man in the holy book.  I drowsed.
I nodded, slept—and without my watching, the world,
whose permanence I doubted, returned again,
bluebell and blue jay, speedwell and cardinal
still there when the light swept back,
and so was I, which I had also doubted.
I understood with horror then with joy,
dubious and luminous joy: it simply spins.
It doesn't need my feet to make it turn.
It doesn't even need my eyes to watch it,
and I, though a latecomer to its surface, I'd
be leaving early.  It was my duty to stay awake
and sing if I could keep my mind on singing,
not extinction, as blurred green summer, lifted
to its apex, succumbed to gravity and fell
to autumn, Ilium, and ashes.  In joy
we are our own uncomprehending mourners,
and more than joy I longed for understanding
and more than understanding I longed for joy.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Luminaria by Kenji Bunch 
(not available, however Kenji Bunch's Magic Hour 
is included here for your enjoyment).

3. The Dunce
by Jacques Prevert

He says no with his head
but he says yes with his heart
he says yes to what he loves
he says no to the teacher
he stands
he is questioned
and all the problems are posed
sudden laughter seizes him
and he erases all
the words and figures
names and dates
sentences and snares
and despite the teacher's threats
to the jeers of infant prodigies
with chalk of every colour
on the blackboard of misfortune
he draws the face of happiness.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sonata for Flute and Piano (Movement 2: Scherzo) by Robert Muczynski

4. Childhood
by Rainer Maria Rilke

It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew
that vanished so completely -and why?

We're still reminded-: sometimes by a rain,
but we can no longer say what it means;
life was never again so filled with meeting,
with reunion and with passing on

as back then, when nothing happened to us
except what happens to things and creatures:
we lived their world as something human,
and became filled to the brim with figures.

And became as lonely as a sheperd
and as overburdened by vast distances,
and summoned and stirred as from far away,
and slowly, like a long new thread,
introduced into that picture-sequence
where now having to go on bewilders us.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Kinderszenen by Robert Schumann

5. Childhood's Retreat
by Robert Duncan

It’s in the perilous boughs of the tree   
out of blue sky    the wind   
sings loudest surrounding me.

And solitude,   a wild solitude
’s reveald,   fearfully,   high     I’d climb   
into the shaking uncertainties,

part out of longing,   part     daring my self,
part to see that
widening of the world,   part

to find my own, my secret
hiding sense and place, where from afar   
all voices and scenes come back

—the barking of a dog,   autumnal burnings,
far calls,   close calls—   the boy I was
calls out to me
here the man where I am   “Look!

I’ve been where you

most fear to be.”

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Octet in E-flat, Op. 20 (4th movement) by Felix Mendelssohn