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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry & prose’

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.

(published 1896, public domain)

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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
Functioning beautifully
Independent of your protection
I recognize my babies still have some growing to do
And so does my love.

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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
with you
and the morning
like the night
is faithful.

^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

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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.

The song is also on my Soundcloud page, where you can download it for free: https://soundcloud.com/julia-tindall-bloom/my-childhood-home-i-see-again

 

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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!

 

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On the last day of the month

I cook my stash of vegetable peelings and potato water

Into broth for next month’s soups and stews and gravies

Bake the heels and crusts of bread

For crumbs for next month’s casseroles

Gather the nearest-to-perishing perishable food

Refrigerated leftovers

Fresh fruit and vegetables

Search the pantry and the freezer

For whatever can fill out this day of meals

Made of remnants

Nothing is wasted

Yet this feels like abundance

These meals like generous gifts

As we linger after dinner

Filled to satisfaction in body and soul.

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There will come a day

When you view the grocery store circular with anticipation

Its expected suspenseful arrival each week

What will the free item be?

How much will avocados cost?

And isn’t there something you’ve been needing but couldn’t quite name

Imploring your attention from these glossy pages?

In those days

You will find yourself

Sitting across the table from your lover of accumulated years

In the Chinese buffet or the Mexican restaurant

With little to say

That you haven’t said already

In one way or another

And, past the days of longing glances,

You will choose handheld devices

And plans for the next week

To fill the mundane gap between you.

 

When that day comes

Take up running.

You will surprise yourself

With the power and endurance

You’ve already built up.

You’ll go to bed eager for the morning

You’ll wake

Bound out into the dawn

Pound the pavement

Breathe and sweat and move

Everything.

Don’t ask yourself

Whether you are running away

Or running to catch up

Or running towards some forgotten hope.

Just run.

Trust me on this.

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