Saturday, September 26, 2015

September Song (September 25, 2015)


 September Midnight by Sara Teasdale

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.

The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Eclogue. Op. 10 by Gerald Finzi

 Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare

   That time of year thou mayst in me behold 
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, 
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. 
In me thou seest the twilight of such day 
As after sunset fadeth in the west, 
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. 
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire 
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, 
As the death-bed whereon it must expire 
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by. 
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Now oh now I needs must part, by John Dowland, arr. by Percy Grainger

The Road Not Taken
BY Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: The Road Not Taken by Randall Thompson


You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or the silence after lightening before it says
its names- and then the clouds' wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles- you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head-
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.

by William Stafford, from Smoke’s Way, 1983

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Clarinet Quintet (1st movement) by Johannes Brahms

September Song
By Maxwell Anderson

When I was a young man courting the girls
I played me a waiting game
If a maid refused me with tossing curls
I'd let the old Earth make a couple of whirls
While I plied her with tears in lieu of pearls
And as time came around she came my way
As time came around, she came

Oh, it's a long long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
And you ain't got time for waiting game

When days dwindle down to a precious few
September November,
And these few golden days I'd share with you
Those golden days I share with you

When you meet with the young girls early in the Spring
You court them in song and rhyme
They answer with words and a clover ring
But if you could examine the goods they bring
They have little to offer but the songs they sing
And the plentiful waste of time of day
A plentiful waste of time

Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
One hasn't got time for the waiting game

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few
September, November
And these few precious days I'll spend with you
These precious days I'll spend with you

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: September Song, by Kurt Weill

Friday, September 18, 2015

Monday Through Friday: Playlist for September 18, 2015


I Shall Be Married on Monday Morning

By  Anonymous  

As I was walking one morning in spring,

I heard a fair maiden most charmingly sing,

All under her cow, as she sat a-milking,

Saying, I shall be married, next Monday morning.

You fairest of all creatures, my eyes e’er beheld,

Oh! Where do you live love, or where do you dwell,

I dwell at the top of yon bonny brown hill,

I shall be fifteen years old next Monday morning.

Fifteen years old love, is too young to marry,

The other five years love, I’d have you to tarry,

And perhaps in the meantime love you might be sorry,

So put back your wedding, next Monday morning.

You talk like a man without reason or skill,

Five years I’ve been waiting against my will,

Now, I am resolved my mind to fulfil,

I wish that tomorrow was Monday morning.

On Saturday night it is all my care,

To powder my locks and curl my hair,

And my two pretty maidens to wait on me there,

To dance at my wedding next Monday morning.

My husband will buy me a guinea gold ring,

And at night he’ll give me a far better thing,

With two precious jewels he’ll be me adorning,

When I am his bride, on Monday morning.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: April is in my mistress' face by Thomas Morley

Deaf Night at O'Donnell's

By  Art Nahill  

I happen in

from another unremarkable

Tuesday in the realm

of gratuitous sound, but here,

I can hear again

the quiet voices of the ontological,

the clink of ice cubes

in uplifted glasses,

the scrape of chairs,

the mournful lowing of floorboards,

the long history of blood

retold in my ears.

I scuffle to the bar, thoughts


by my suddenly thunderous

presence in this world,

and the silence flowing

from the neon jukebox,

the silence going down

smooth as the shot

of loneliness that would

naturally follow

a Billie Holiday song

if one were playing—

—while everywhere hands

are fluttering like sheets

in winds of gossip,

hollering above last call

for one more round.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Body & Soul by Johnny Green


By  C. D. Wright 

       If this is Wednesday, write Lazartigues, return library books, pick up passport form, cancel the paper.

       If this is Wednesday, mail B her flyers and K her shirts. Last thing I asked as I walked K to her car, “You sure you have everything?” “Oh yes,” she smiled, as she squalled off. Whole wardrobe in front closet.

       Go to Morrison’s for paint samples, that’s where housepainter has account (near Pier One), swing by Gano St. for another bunch of hydroponic lettuce. Stop at cleaners if there’s parking.

       Pap smear at 4. After last month with B’s ear infections, can’t bear sitting in damn doctor’s office. Never a magazine or picture on the wall worth looking at. Pack a book.

       Ever since B born, nothing comes clear. My mind like a mirror that’s been in a fire. Does this happen to the others.

       If this is Wednesday, meet Moss at the house at noon. Pick B up first, call sitter about Friday evening. If she prefers, can bring B to her (hope she keeps the apartment warmer this year).

       Need coat hooks and picture hangers for office. Should take car in for air filter, oil change. F said one of back tires low. Don’t forget car payment, late last two months in a row.

       If this is Wednesday, there’s a demo on the green at 11. Took B to his first down at Quonset Point in August. Blue skies.   Boston collective provided good grub for all. Long column of denims and flannel shirts. Smell of patchouli made me so wistful, wanted to buy a woodstove, prop my feet up, share a J and a pot of Constant Comment with a friend. Maybe some zucchini bread.

       Meet with honors students from 1 to 4. At the community college I tried to incite them to poetry. Convince them this line of work, beat the bejesus out of a gig as gizzard splitter at the processing plant or cleaning up after a leak at the germ warfare center. Be all you can be, wrap rubber band around your trigger finger until it drops off.
       Swim at 10:00 before picking up B, before demo on the green, and before meeting moss, if it isn’t too crowded. Only three old women talking about their daughters-in-law last Wednesday at 10:00.

       Phone hardware to see if radon test arrived.

       Keep an eye out for a new yellow blanket. Left B’s on the plane, though he seems over it already. Left most recent issue of Z in the seat. That will make a few businessmen boil. I liked the man who sat next to me, he was sweet to B. Hated flying, said he never let all of his weight down.

       Need to get books in the mail today. Make time pass in line at the P.O. imagining man in front of me butt naked. Fellow in the good-preacher-blue-suit, probably has a cold, hard bottom.

       Call N for green tomato recipe. Have to get used to the Yankee growing season. If this is Wednesday, N goes in hospital today. Find out how long after marrow transplant before can visit.

       Mother said she read in paper that Pete was granted a divorce. His third. My highschool boyfriend. Meanest thing I could have done, I did to him, returning a long-saved-for engagement ring in a Band-Aid box, while he was stationed in Da Nang.

       Meant to tell F this morning about dream of eating grasshoppers, fried but happy. Our love a difficult instrument we are learning to play. Practice, practice.

       No matter where I call home anymore, feel like a boat under the trees. Living is strange.

       This week only; bargain on laid paper at East Side Copy Shop.

       Woman picking her nose at the stoplight. Shouldn’t look, only privacy we have anymore in the car. Isn’t that the woman from the colloquium last fall, who told me she was a stand-up environmentalist. What a wonderful trade, I said, because the evidence of planetary wrongdoing is overwhelming. Because because because of the horrible things we do.

       If this is Wednesday, meet F at Health Department at 10:45 for AIDS test.

       If this is Wednesday, it’s trash night.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: String Quartet No. 3 (1) by Philip Glass

The Musical Director faces quite a simple task:
To get a choir to sing – that surely isn’t much to ask!
In rehearsals all he has to do is walk around and shout,
And in concerts merely stand in front and wave his arms about.
Despite these perks the fellow can get noticeably stroppy,
Just because he spots the odd face buried in a copy.
The poor old chap shows all the signs of clinical depression.
He bellows, “Never mind the notes! Please give me some expression!”
So we singers try to help him – give him everything we’ve got –
Which, admittedly, it must be said, is, frankly, not a lot.
We take a breath and hope the sound that issues from our throat
Is something fairly well in time, and somewhere near the note.
But, by the concert, everything’s been carefully refined,
Each subtlety of emphasis been duly underlined.
We build up the crescendo to that wondrous final chord
Whose magical precision makes the audience applaud,
And we all get there together, though God knows how we do –
Sopranos, altos, tenors – and the basses get there too –
Just half a bar behind.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Be not afraid, by Felix Mendelssohn

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Poetry about Late Summer


Dover Beach

By Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Moonlight, from "Four Sea Interludes" by Benjamin Britten

[Leaving the beach on a Sunday in a streetcar]

by Charles Reznikoff
Leaving the beach on a Sunday in a streetcar
a family of three—mother, son and daughter:
the mother, well on in the thirties, blond hair, worried face;
the son, twelve years of age or so, seated opposite,
and the daughter, about eight or nine, beside her.
The boy was blond, too; a good-looking little fellow
with dreamy eyes. The little girl was quite plain;
mouth pulled down at the corners,
sharp angry eyes behind eyeglasses.

No sooner were they seated than the boy, speaking gently, said,
“Today was one of the most wonderful days I ever had.”
The girl said shrilly, “I wish we could live in one of those houses”—
looking at the bungalows along the shore—
“then we could go to the beach every day.”
The mother did not answer either.
The beach they were coming from was crowded with poor people;
and the family was dressed cheaply but was neat and spotless,
even after the day’s outing.
I wondered idly where the father was: at work? dead? divorced?

After a while the mother said, weighing her words,
“You know Mister. . .”
I did not hear the name: it was spoken so softly.
She was talking to the boy.
“He goes fishing every Wednesday.
I think I can get him to take you along.”
The boy did not answer for a minute or two
and then said, in his gentle voice,
“I should like it very much.”
“Can I go too?” asked the little girl shrilly,
but no one answered her.

Mother and son had eyes only for each other.
She took out her handkerchief and wiped his face.
He complained of something in his eye—
certainly not enough to make him blink—
and she raised the upper lid
and lowered the lower lid to look for it.

The little girl stood up to look out of the window   
and the boy said to his mother, “She stepped on my toes
and did not even say, Excuse me, please.”
The mother turned to the little girl and said sharply,
“Why didn’t you say, Excuse me?
You should have said, Excuse me, brother.”
The little girl said nothing,
face turned toward the window,
the corners of her mouth far down and her eyes,   
bright and dry, looking sharply through her glasses.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sunny Days, by Rick Sowash

At My Best
BY John Rodriguez

August is the cruelest month: never enough daylight, too much
heat, no holidays and nothing matters except September’s

dawning responsibilities, but the August of 1994 I was Holden
Caulfield, summer camp senior counselor for the junior trail

blazers, black and brown children two weeks shy of first, second,
and third grade. Nothing is as positive, as motivating a force within

one’s life as a school bus full of kids singing along to the local
radio station blazing hip-hop and R&B. (Imagine this cherubic

chorus riding upstate to Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes the Hotstepper.”
[“Muuur-derah!”]) My workday is filled with hazards like chocolate

melted sticky swim trunk pockets, insistent sunburn, and the assorted
rah rah of parental unsupervision, but those bus rides back from

upstate water parks and pools were my favorite times working.
Have you ever ridden in a cheesebus with ashy children asleep

against you, staring at sudden treesmore numerous than project
windowsblurring along the highways like confusion giving way

to doubt, the heady smell of dried chlorine and musty towels
lulling you into the soft timbre of a Midwest falsetto? Tell me

what it is to fall in love with a lightskin girl covering the Isley
Brothers. I was not two weeks into 21 years old. I had yet

to wear a box cutter in my fifth pocket, or see a semi-automatic
aimed at my center mass, to feel its dumbness against my spine.

My life was uncertain, save for its unlikely length under my control,
like the pilot who falls short of what he says, what he says

he’s all about, all about. All my homeboys were still alive, just
like Aaliyah Dana Haughton, not yet an angel of the cruelest August,

begging a boy, who may not be in the mood to learn what he thinks
he knows, to look beyond his world and try to find a place for her.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Hello, It's Me by The Isley Brothers

August Morning
BY Albert Garcia

It’s ripe, the melon
by our sink. Yellow,
bee-bitten, soft, it perfumes
the house too sweetly.
At five I wake, the air
mournful in its quiet.
My wife’s eyes swim calmly
under their lids, her mouth and jaw
relaxed, different.
What is happening in the silence
of this house? Curtains
hang heavily from their rods.
Ficus leaves tremble
at my footsteps. Yet
the colors outside are perfect--
orange geranium, blue lobelia.
I wander from room to room
like a man in a museum:
wife, children, books, flowers,
melon. Such still air. Soon
the mid-morning breeze will float in
like tepid water, then hot.
How do I start this day,
I who am unsure
of how my life has happened
or how to proceed
amid this warm and steady sweetness?

REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  Sarabande  by J.S. Bach

By Alice Wagner

You cannot hold the sun.

Just behind the clouds, it waits
Stirring the tides to right me,
while morning stretches.

Heat, seeps slowly,
filling and spilling over clouds,
Bathing my face and shoulders,

Surrounding me, warm and heavy,
As breezes whisper the truth...
that nothing else exists.

You cannot escape the sun

As waves gently tease, with their promise of sanctuary,
Imagining the tide’s salty embrace,
I am swallowed into the cold deep.

But heat and sear soon follow to the water.
And emerging, I find them waiting,
Lightly caressing and stinging my face.

Dripping and chilled, wrapped in towels we sink back into the day’s warmth.
The heat is slower now and waves gradually sweep away all thought.
Content, the hours pass unnoticed, as we sit together, making talk even smaller.

You cannot tame the sun

Pleasures, once lovely, will soon burn.
Bare arms and legs, tender spaces on backs and shoulders,
Where kisses land without question,
Now sting and swell, no match for its slow fire.

Still burning beneath the surface,
Cool sheets only briefly calm the blaze,
Pounding deep as I roll to make room for sleep.

But like all things, heat fades.
Attempts to escape bubble to the surface and peel,
Leaving only the mark of Summer
to paint the memory of pleasure and pain.

You cannot deny the sun

Another week ends, the earth returning from its seventh tour.
Once again it peers over the window ledge into the kitchen.
Melon is cut, ice is poured, and bags are packed.

Hovering, as we sit in the car on route 95 to the Sound,
Dancing off shiny surfaces, licking at my neck and shoulders,
Whispering its secret again.

I lift my face to its bright kiss,
with no memory of the burn.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Introduction & Allegro by Maurice Ravel