Image-Text-Music

Image-Text-Music, 9.22.14 — Frederic Edwin Church, Trumbull Stickney, Bon Iver

Frederic Edwin Church, “Landscape in the Adirondacks” (1878)

Frederic Edwin Church, “Landscape in the Adirondacks” (1878)

“Mnemosyne,” by Trumbull Stickney

 

It’s autumn in the country I remember.

 

How warm a wind blew here about the ways!

And shadows on the hillside lay to slumber

During the long sun-sweetened summer-days.

 

It’s cold abroad the country I remember.

 

The swallows veering skimmed the golden grain

At midday with a wing aslant and limber;

And yellow cattle browsed upon the plain.

 

It’s empty down the country I remember.

 

I had a sister lovely in my sight:

Her hair was dark, her eyes were very sombre;

We sang together in the woods at night.

 

It’s lonely in the country I remember.

 

The babble of our children fills my ears,

And on our hearth I stare the perished ember

To flames that show all starry thro’ my tears.

 

It’s dark about the country I remember.

 

There are the mountains where I lived. The path

Is slushed with cattle-tracks and fallen timber,

The stumps are twisted by the tempests’ wrath.

 

But that I knew these places are my own,

I’d ask how came such wretchedness to cumber

The earth, and I to people it alone.

 

It rains across the country I remember.

 

***

Bon Iver, “Calgary

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Image-Text-Music

Image-Text-Music, 9.21.14 — Monet, Merwin, PJ Harvey

Painting by Claude Monet, "Impression, Sunrise" (1872)

Painting by Claude Monet, “Impression, Sunrise” (1872)

“The Last One,” by W.S. Merwin

Well they’d make up their minds to be everywhere because why not.
Everywhere was theirs because they thought so.
They with two leaves they whom the birds despise.
In the middle of stones they made up their minds.
They started to cut.

Well they cut everything because why not.
Everything was theirs because they thought so.
It fell into its shadows and they took both away.
Some to have some for burning.

Well cutting everything they came to the water.
They came to the end of the day there was one left standing.
They would cut it tomorrow they went away.
The night gathered in the last branches.
The shadow of the night gathered in the shadow on the water.
The night and the shadow put on the same head.
And it said Now.

Well in the morning they cut the last one.
Like the others the last one fell into its shadow.
It fell into its shadow on the water.
They took it away its shadow stayed on the water.

Well they shrugged they started trying to get the shadow away.
They cut right to the ground the shadow stayed whole.
They laid boards on it the shadow came out on top.

They shone lights on it the shadow got blacker and clearer.
They exploded the water the shadow rocked.
They built a huge fire on the roots.
They sent up black smoke between the shadow and the sun.
The new shadow flowed without changing the old one.
They shrugged they went away to get stones.

They came back the shadow was growing.
They started setting up stones it was growing.
They looked the other way it went on growing.
They decided they would make a stone out of it.
They took stones to the water they poured them into the shadow.
They poured them in they poured them in the stones vanished.
The shadow was not filled it went on growing.
That was one day.

The next day was just the same it went on growing.
They did all the same things it was just the same.
They decided to take its water from under it.
They took away water they took it away the water went down.
The shadow stayed where it was before.
It went on growing it grew onto the land.
They started to scrape the shadow with machines.
When it touched the machines it stayed on them.
They started to beat the shadow with sticks.
Where it touched the sticks it stayed on them.
They started to beat the shadow with hands.
Where it touched the hands it stayed on them.
That was another day.

Well the next day started about the same it went on growing.
They pushed lights into the shadow.
Where the shadow got onto them they went out.
They began to stomp on the edge it got their feet.
And when it got their feet they fell down.
It got into eyes the eyes went blind.
The ones that fell down it grew over and they vanished.
The ones that went blind and walked into it vanished.
The ones that could see and stood still
It swallowed their shadows.
Then it swallowed them too and they vanished.
Well the others ran.

The ones that were left went away to live if it would let them.
They went as far as they could.
The lucky ones with their shadows.

***

PJ Harvey, “Written on the Forehead

 

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Image-Text-Music, 9.20.14: Japanese Woodprint, Wallace Stevens, Kate Bush

Nightingale

Woodblock print by Ryūryūkyo Shinsai (ca. 1799 – 1823, Edo Period), “New Moon: Nightingale on a Plum Branch

“Autumn Refrain,” Wallace Stevens

The skreak and skritter of evening gone
And grackles gone and sorrows of the sun,
The sorrows of sun, too, gone . . . the moon and moon,
The yellow moon of words about the nightingale
In measureless measures, not a bird for me
But the name of a bird and the name of a nameless air
I have never — shall never hear.  And yet beneath
The stillness of everything gone, and being still,
Being and sitting still, something resides,
Some skreaking and skrittering residuum,
And grates these evasions of the nightingale
Though I have never — shall never hear that bird.
And the stillness is in the key, all of it is,
The stillness is all in the key of that desolate sound.

***

Kate Bush, “Prelude and Prologue” (part of An Endless Sky of Honey)

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Image-Text-Music, 9.18.14: Buddhist Mandala, Emily Dickinson, Pink Floyd

A traditional “Tibetan”/Vajrayãna Buddhist mandala depiction of the “Wheel of Life”

A traditional “Tibetan”/Vajrayãna Buddhist mandala depiction of the “Wheel of Life”

“A Poem: ‘Twas like a Maelstrom,” by Emily Dickinson (Fr# 425/J# 414)

‘Twas like a Maelstrom, with a notch,
That nearer, every Day,
Kept narrowing its boiling Wheel
Until the Agony

Toyed coolly with the final inch
Of your delirious Hem —
And you dropt, lost,
When something broke —
And let you from a Dream —

As if a Goblin with a Gauge —
Kept measuring the Hours —
Until you felt your Second
Weigh, helpless, in his Paws —

And not a Sinew — stirred — could help,
And sense was setting numb —
When God — remembered — and the Fiend
Let go, then, Overcome —

As if your Sentence stood — pronounced —
And you were frozen led
From Dungeon’s luxury of Doubt
To Gibbets, and the Dead —

And when the Film had stitched your eyes
A Creature gasped “Reprieve”!
Which Anguish was the utterest — then —
To perish, or to live?
***

Pink Floyd, “See Emily Play”

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Image-Text-Music, 9.17.14: Shakespeare, Peter Lik, Neil Young

Peter Lik, photograph "One" (2010)

Peter Lik, photograph “One” (2010)

“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.

***

Neil Young, “Heart of Gold”

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Image-Text-Music, 9.16.14: Heade, Celan, Von Hausswolff

“Psalm,” by Paul Celan/translated by John Felstiner

 

No one kneads us again out of earth and clay,

no one incants our dust.

No one.

 

Blessèd art thou, No One.

In thy sight would

we bloom.

In thy

spite.

 

A Nothing

we were, are now, and ever

shall be, blooming:

the Nothing-, the

No-One’s-Rose.

 

With

our pistil soul-bright,

our stamen heaven-waste,

our corona red

from the purpleword we sang

over, O over

the thorn.

 

====

 

“Psalm,” von Paul Celan

 

Niemand knetet uns wieder aus Erde und Lehm,

niemand bespricht unsern Staub.

Niemand.

 

Gelobt siest du, Niemand.

Dir zulieb wollen

wir blühn.

Dir

entgegen.

 

Ein Nichts

waren wir, sind wir, warden

wir bleiben, blühend:

die Nichts-, die

Niemandsrose.

 

Mit

dem Griffel seelenhell,

dem Staubfaben himmelswüst,

der Krone rot

vom Purpurwort, das wir sangen

über, o über

dem Dorn.

 

***

Anna Von Hausswolff, “Mountains Crave”

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Image-Text-Music

Image-Text-Music, 9.15.14: Ah Xian, Kathleen Graber, Laurie Anderson

Porcelain bust from artist Ah Xian’s collection, China China (1999)

Porcelain bust from artist Ah Xian’s collection, China China (1999)

“The River Twice,” by Kathleen Graber

 

The Love of Jesus is a thrift warehouse on the south side of town. Everything

 

inside is a dollar. On Mondays & Fridays, everything is fifty cents.

A stormy afternoon in June & I drift for hours down the aisles: bread machines

 

& coffee pots. Shirts

                                       & shoes. Teetering stacks of mismatched dinnerware.

 

I am studying a cup whose crackled glaze is the pale blue-green of beach glass.

Two lions chase one another around its fragile eternity,

 

the way the lover pursues the beloved on the ancient urn, their manes & legs

 

washed in a preternatural purple & gold.

                                                                              Behind me, a woman tells her son William

to get up from the floor so that she can measure him against a pair

 

of little boys’ jeans. When he doesn’t rise, she tells him she is going to start

 

counting. She says she is only going to count to two.

                                                                                                     When I look over,

he is already on his feet at silent attention, his arms outstretched from his sides.

 

I live in an attic apartment above two women who have been unemployed

 

as long as I have known them.

                                                           This week the last of their benefits

has been unexpectedly terminated by the state.

                                                                                            A drop in the overall number

 

of jobless automatically triggers the cessation of extensions, the letter

 

that comes in the mail explains.

                                                             Outside, thunder cracks. Later, the streets

will be full of limbs.

                                       Heraclitus believed that in the beginning

 

creation simply bubbled forth, an inevitable percolating stream—logos,

 

both reason & word—issuing from a source unseen. Sometimes

I feel a sudden sorrow, as though my own emotions were a room

I’d forgotten why I entered.

                                                     My mother struck me only once—

 

for refusing to put on my coat. I was four years old & she had been scrubbing

motel rooms all day.

                                         I’d fallen asleep in the dark on a low shelf

 

in the linen closet beside the boxes of little pink soaps.

                                                                                                        Today, that shelf

 

is gone & the great white polar caps

                                                                     are melting. At Kasungu National Park

in Malawi, a drought has caused the lions to turn on the rangers

 

whose job it is to protect them.

                                                             Our skulls are chipped bowls, broken

 

globes, we plunge into the flow.

                                                               Heraclitus, whom the crash of time has left

in fragments, saw in the cosmos a harmony of tensions.

Imagine

 

the lyre, he wrote, & the bow. The store radio plays satellite gospel.

 

A hymn with the chorus Every moment you shall be judged is followed

by one in which the choir shouts Praise! Stand up and be forgiven.

 

***

Laurie Anderson, “Ramon”

 

 

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