Saturday, May 30, 2015

Poetry about Growing Old: Playlist for May 29, 2015



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




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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