Saturday, September 1, 2018

Love & Remembrance (August 31, 2018)

By Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away, 
         Gone far away into the silent land; 
         When you can no more hold me by the hand, 
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. 
Remember me when no more day by day 
         You tell me of our future that you plann'd: 
         Only remember me; you understand 
It will be late to counsel then or pray. 
Yet if you should forget me for a while 
         And afterwards remember, do not grieve: 
         For if the darkness and corruption leave 
         A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, 
Better by far you should forget and smile 
         Than that you should remember and be sad.

by Leonard Cohen

I built my house beside the wood
So I could hear you singing
And it was sweet and it was good
And love was all beginning
Fare thee well my nightingale
'Twas long ago I found you
Now all your songs of beauty fail
The forest closes 'round you
The sun goes down behind a veil
'Tis now that you would call me
So rest in peace my nightingale
Beneath your branch of holly
Fare thee well my nightingale
I lived but to be near you
Tho' you are singing somewhere still
I can no longer hear you


By Sir Thomas Wyatt

They flee from me, that sometime did me seek 
   With naked foot, stalking in my chamber. 
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek, 
   That now are wild, and do not remember 
   That sometime they put themselves in danger 
         To take bread at my hand; and now they range 
         Busily seeking with a continual change. 

Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise 
   Twenty times better; but once, in special, 
In thin array, after a pleasant guise, 
   When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall, 
   And she me caught in her arms long and small; 
         Therewith all sweetly did me kiss, 
         And softly said, ‘Dear heart, how like you this?’ 

It was no dream: I lay broad waking: 
   But all is turned, thorough my gentleness, 
Into a strange fashion of forsaking; 
   And I have leave to go of her goodness, 
   And she also to use newfangleness. 
         But since that I so kindly am served, 
         I would fain know what she hath deserve

Song: Memory, hither come

By William Blake

Memory, hither come, 
         And tune your merry notes; 
And, while upon the wind, 
         Your music floats, 
I'll pore upon the stream, 
         Where sighing lovers dream, 
And fish for fancies as they pass 
         Within the watery glass. 

I'll drink of the clear stream, 
         And hear the linnet's song; 
And there I'll lie and dream 
         The day along: 
And, when night comes, I'll go 
         To places fit for woe, 
Walking along the darken'd valley, 
         With silent Melancholy.

Sunday Morning With The Sensational Nightingales 

by Billy Collins

It was not the Five Mississippi Blind Boys
who lifted me off the ground
that Sunday morning
as I drove down for the paper, some oranges, and bread.
Nor was it the Dixie Hummingbirds
or the Soul Stirrers, despite their quickening name,
or even the Swan Silvertones
who inspired me to look over the commotion of trees
into the open vault of the sky.

No, it was the Sensational Nightingales
who happened to be singing on the gospel
station early that Sunday morning
and must be credited with the bumping up
of my spirit, the arousal of the mice within.

I have always loved this harmony,
like four, sometimes five trains running
side by side over a contoured landscape––
make that a shimmering, red-dirt landscape,
wildflowers growing along the silver tracks,
lace tablecloths covering the hills,
the men and women in white shirts and dresses
walking in the direction of a tall steeple.
Sunday morning in a perfect Georgia.

But I am not here to describe the sound
of the falsetto whine, sepulchral bass,
alto and tenor fitted snugly in between;
only to witness my own minor ascension
that morning as they sang, so parallel,
about the usual themes,
the garden of suffering,
the beads of blood on the forehead,
the stone before the hillside tomb,
and the ancient rolling waters
we would all have to cross some day.

God bless the Sensational Nightingales,
I thought as I turned up the volume,
God bless their families and their powder blue suits.
They are a far cry from the quiet kneeling
I was raised with,
a far, hand-clapping cry from the candles
that glowed in the alcoves
and the fixed eyes of saints staring down
from their corners.

Oh, my cap was on straight that Sunday morning
and I was fine keeping the car on the road.
No one would ever have guessed
I was being lifted into the air by nightingales,
hoisted by their beaks like a long banner
that curls across an empty blue sky,
caught up in the annunciation
of these high, most encouraging tidings.

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