For week 28 of #songaweek2016, I called on Stephen Crane – well, his poetry – for a little help. Here’s a poem of his that I set to music.
Once, I knew a fine song,
— It is true, believe me —
It was all of birds,
And I held them in a basket;
When I opened the wicket,
Heavens! They all flew away.
I cried, “Come back, little thoughts!”
But they only laughed.
They flew on
Until they were as sand
Thrown between me and the sky.
Grabbing some moments at the coffeeshop and combing through old computer files, felt like it was time to post a little something. So here, a poem about poems:
One Poet to Another 2/18/13 Julia Tindall Bloom
When I remark that my poems are not as good as yours
I am not denying their breathing reality.
They are real-live poems
I know, I was there at the birth of each and every one.
I am only admitting
That I love them too blindly
Keep them too close
To see them straight
And seeing the healthy bodies of yours
Independent of your protection
I recognize my babies still have some growing to do
And so does my love.
In the soundless depths before dawn
you are with me.
You are not only in the lightening of the sky
but also in the embracing dark of this room.
I wait for you
and the morning
like the night
^What I wrote this morning, and then what I read:
“To preserve the silence within – amid all the noise. To remain open and quiet, a moist humus in the fertile darkness, where the rain falls and the grain ripens – no matter how many tramp across the parade ground in whirling dust under an arid sky.”
And also this:
“Is your disgust at your emptiness to be the only life with which you fill it?”
^Both quotations from Markings by Dag Hammarskjold
When Abraham Lincoln was in his late thirties, he revisited his childhood home, and wrote a poem about it. Though the American Civil War and his own early death were still years into his future, the poem he wrote in 1846 feels like a fitting backdrop for many of the Civil War photos I came across while making this video.
I’ve been having fun taking public domain poems and setting them to music recently. Here’s a little spring fever piece by Robert Frost, very roughly recorded by yours truly. May you very soon find the brown beneath the white, wherever you live in the northern hemisphere anyway!