Friday, April 4, 2014

The Vision of a Poet

Many birds this morning
Singing songs of praise and joy.
Doves, Finches, Woodpeckers
Crows and Robins.

Siting in backyard
My dog next to me
Eating a marrow bone.

Later him sleeping 
On the love seat in the office.
The cat of my desk.
Thank You God. Thank You.

Later I go shopping.
Another yarn heard.
On the radio an untrue story.

A Hungarian Folk
Opera. Háry János
By  Zoltán Kodály

Kodály wrote in his preface to the score:

Háry is a peasant, a veteran soldier.
Day after day he sits
At the tavern spinning

Yarns about his heroic exploits.
Stories released by his imagination.
An inextricable mixture of realism

And naivety, of comic humour and pathos." 
Kodály also comments
 "Though superficially he appears to be merely a braggart,

Essentially he is a natural visionary and poet.
That his stories are not true is irrelevant,

For they are the fruit of a lively imagination,

Seeking to create for himself and for others,
a beautiful dream world."

The opera, and the suite, begin with an orchestral 'musical sneeze', best explained in Kodály's own words: "According to Hungarian superstition, if a statement is followed by a sneeze of one of the hearers, it is regarded as confirmation of its truth. The Suite begins with a sneeze of this kind! One of Háry's group of faithful listeners … sneezes at the wildest assertions of the old tale-spinner."

Dinner ordered out.
Wine shared. And we
Talk after silence all day.

Thank You God. Thank You.
We watch Jeopardy and play
With our dog and we talk.

We sing a song of praise
Like the morning birds. We 
Have many gifts to count.

Rain fall.
Susan reads.
I write. 

Or cat sleeps.
Our dog sleeps.
And rain nourishes the garden.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Royal Fireworks

I am now writing
About yesterday. An angel
High up in pine tree.

Two doves in a tree.
A woodpecker pecking.
Geese flying overhead.

Playing Frisbee with my dog.
The way my dog knows when I 
Pick up my camera we are going outside.

Learning story of Handel's
Music for the Royal Fireworks.
The music providing a background

For the Royal Fireworks the wooden building 
Caught fire. Over twelve thousand people
Rushed to get away. Causing a tree-hour traffic jam

Of carriages, after the main route
Was closed due to the collapse 
Of the central arch of the newly built London Bridge.

I listened to the Overture
In the car on my way
To my physical. Stopping once

To photograph The Lower Mill Pond
In Easthampton, Massachusetts
Where I once lived.

The nurse said we now ask
Everyone two question.
Do you feel depressed?

Have you recently fallen?
No and no. And I said
To her I remember being

Depressed. Still so clear.
I was waiting in the doctor's office
And I picked up an magazine and wept.

When the doctor entered the room
I help up the magazine, Newsweek
I think, and on the cover a photo

Two young women. One from Palestine
And the other from Israel. They had
Killed each other. And there

In the doctor's office I wept.
I took medicine for a few years.
Those feelings are gone.

I told the doctor I had been feeling
Light-headed and that my back hurt.
He talked to be about the foot railing

At bars. Made to help people
Drink longer without hurting
Their backs. He said I should

Try using a foot stool when cooking
Or cleaning the dishes. Raise one leg
For a few minutes and the the other.

I said to him it sounds
Like a Seinfeld joke. And I was happy
To hear my blood pressure was down.

Back in the car heading home
I heard to story of The Tam O'Shanter Overture
By Sir Malcolm Arnold; based on a famous poem

By Robert Burns depicting
Tam O'Shanter drunk. Leaving the pub
Tam rides home on his horse Meg.

A storm is brewing. He sees
the local haunted church lit up, 
witches and warlocks dancing.

The devil playing the bagpipes.
Tam is still drunk, still upon his horse,
Just on the edge of the light watching.

Amazed to see The witches are dancing
As the music intensifies and seeing
A witch in a short dress

He shouts,`Weel done, cutty-sark!'
(cutty-sark : "short shirt").

The lights go out, the music

And dancing stops and many
Of the creatures lunge after Tam,
With the witches leading.

Tam spurs Meg to turn and flee
And drives the horse on towards the River Doon
As the creatures dare not cross a running stream.

The creatures give chase and the witches
Come so close to catching Tam and Meg
That they pull Meg's tail off just as she reaches the bridge over the Doon.

What a story.
What a poem.
What great music.

Over dinner I tell Susan
Both stories and we talk
Later of framing art.


You can hear it here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Is Here

Birds singing out my window
Early in the morning
Still in bed waking
Help from Susan
Packing my photos
In the car
Three women helping me
Hang my art at the gallery
The pond and
The mountain
The kind cashier at the supermarket
An afternoon nap with my cat
Sitting with Susan on the back steps
Drinking tea
In the warming sunshine
Walking my dog
My dog sleeping
In my lap
At night