Replies: The Poetry of Earth

Monday Morning Musings:

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

–Leonard Bernstein (In reference to a concert played after JFK’s assassination.)

“I also believe, along with Keats, that the Poetry of Earth is never dead, as long as Spring succeeds Winter. . .”

–Leonard Bernstein

“He’s alive. He’s alive so long as these evils exist. Remember that when he comes to your town. Remember it when you hear his voice speaking out through others. Remember it when you hear a name called, a minority attacked, any blind, unreasoning assault on a people or any human being. He’s alive because, though these things, we keep him alive.”

Rod Serling, “He’s Alive,” The Twilight Zone.

 

The Queen of Soul with last breath sighs

a cappella respect and pink Cadillacs lay her to rest

and when the war hero dies, tributes attest

to his heroism, morality, beliefs that belie

the petty tyrant’s mocking words

his tweeting calls, unlike the birds

who in dawn chorus sing

and bring the poetry of earth alive

(let freedom ring).

 

At a museum we see the story of a people and a man

a tribute for what would have been his hundredth year

his father wanted him to be a rabbi, but didn’t stand

in his way, when music was what he held so dear

–but he was a rabbi of a sort, teaching with sound

and harmony, questioning and seeking justice, shedding tears

to bring the poetry of earth to light–

his reply to violence was not silence,

but rather let the music swell intensely, delight

in life, for all of us, poetry of earth and air

today, tonight

(someday, somewhere)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We see a movie about a boy and his brothers

violence and love, we and us, a trio till it’s not–

they run wild, as mother and father

and family, all of them caught

a cycle, repeating what they’ve learned

yelling and silence, kisses and slaps

and so, he seeks solace in art, turns

to his frantic scribbling, wraps

his pain and questioning in late night visions

finally realizing, and makes decisions

there’s poetry in this dreamy work

where souls almost drown, but also fly

and even in the light, the darkness lurks

the poetry of earth means changes are sung

but his mother whispers

(may you stay forever young).

 

We stroll through the city

that also ages and changes,

we see ugly and pretty

poverty and wealth, such ranges

and though fall is coming,

summer still holds sway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the poetry of earth ever humming

through violence, love finds a way

we see weddings, people who are happy

and we smile with them as we walk

drink our coffee, discuss movies, and talk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

about this and that

and in end of summer heat

complete

(we’ll do the best we know

and make our garden grow).

 

Song lyrics: “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” which Aretha Franklin sang at Barack Obama’s inauguration. Leonard Bernstein references to “Tonight” and “Somewhere” from West Side Story and “Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide. “May You Stay Forever Young,” Bob Dylan.

We went to the Leonard Bernstein exhibit on its last day at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. I didn’t know he had performed at a displaced persons camp after WWII. He conducted an orchestra that called themselves the Ex-Concentration Camp Orchestra. You can read about it here and here. We saw We the Animals. Trailer here. I really liked this movie.  We watched the old Twilight Zone episode “He’s Alive.” It was written in the 1960s, but it is a timely reminder about what could be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breathe a Cloud

Monday Morning Musings:

 

“Fear makes for good servants

and bravery is fraudulent”

       –Jim Harrison from “Vows”

 

The timeless lies

of dictators grappling for power

smiling for the crowds

insisting they are making things better

demagogues feeding the fears

firing them into fury

so that they erupt

like a volcano

spewing lava into the air

to flow over

those people–

criminals

rapists

bad hombres–

them,

those people who take your jobs,

and ravish your women,

animals

not fully human.

We’ve seen this before

but that doesn’t happen here

that’s all in the past

in countries far away.

We thought we were safe,

more enlightened now

(to separate parents and children)

we’re not

paralyzed by fear and indecision

numbed by the normalization

of Twitter rants

but evil has only been buried

in a shallow grave

waiting to crawl out

like zombies

eating brains

and souls.

 

But when to fight

and when to escape in flight?

Do we leave at the first sparks

from the volcano,

or wait till it erupts?

My daughter’s friend goes out for bread

finds herself wind-whipped with ash–

falling from the sky.

Sudden changes–

like the storm clouds that break

for sunshine

and for a night

when we can sit outside with friends

to enjoy a concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

watching children dance in the green grass

in innocence and joy

but

the storm clouds return

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and we sit inside

procrastibake

and watch TV

Mixed-berry Crumble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

we go to a wine festival

sampling wine

until the wind kicks up

and it is too cold and blustery to sit outside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

so, we come home

to sip

inside again

 

watch an old movie about war

and bravery and morality

where the coward becomes the war hero,

but when is fighting necessary

how do we stop evil

without glorifying war?

I have no answers–

but know that questioning must continue–

the press, the poets, the artists

truth and artistic vision

The Post and Guernica–

the light in the darkness,

that is bravery, too

 

and when

 

the rain falls,

hard rain

forming puddles

where little girls see rainbows

not guns

stop

look up

sigh

 

breathe a cloud

blush a breeze with joy

over our universe

and use soft rhythm

to time the thing—

eternity

it sails

a vast cool ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve linked this to Jilly’s Day  4 of  her 28 Days of Unreason using the poetry of Jim Harrison. And the Oracle added the message at the end.

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