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Sunday surprise, crying sky blues

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — an interdisciplinary meditation on what falls like rain — savor these two at a time, and take your time ]
.

Gary BB Coleman:

Guillaume Apolinnaire:

Prose version, Roger Shattuck:

It’s raining women’s voices as if they had died even in memory
And it’s raining you as well marvellous encounters of my life O little drops
Those rearing clouds begin to neigh a whole universe of auricular cities
Listen if it rains while regret and disdain weep to an ancient music
Listen to the bonds fall off which hold you above and below

**

Clearly drums fall like rain. Hammer blows?

C.B. Cook and gang:

Tangle Eye:

**

Portia, in Merchant of Venice:

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

Eddie Turner:

**

Like I said, listen to these, two by two —

The second one here, at four hours, will likely outlast you — but do listen to a minute or three..

**

And a grace-note, gifted us from Friday’s New Yorker:

As my fingers began to manipulate over keys, words began to fall in place on the melody like drops of water falling from the crevice of a rock,” Dorsey later said. He gave the first performance of “Precious Lord” at his church shortly after his wife and baby’s death, and the act of uninhibited spiritual praise was forever changed.

Here:

Sunday surprise, the selfsame song

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — whether willed by the brain or torn from the heart, the one, same cry for mercy — in chant, by Bach, and by Ray Charles & BB king ]
.

A stranger in my Twitter-stream just tweeted a link to a current Australian report on an opening window for rescue operations for the boys trapped in that cave in norther Thailand, two and a half miles under ground:

[ the video in this tweet is from a continually updated news feed — at time of writing, the rescue op was just beginning ]

Fate may be fate, prayer may or may not influence events — perhaps prayer may only help us, the watching world ouiside that cave, those circumstances, that peril — the urge to pray is no respecter of particular religions, Christians, Buddhists, Atheists, we all may feel the instinct to pray.

The prayer is the most basic cry, as we shall see in three versions: the timeless Gregorian chant, the beauty of the Erbarme Dich from Bach‘s Matthew Passion, and that selfsame song as Ray Charles sings it with BB King.

**

Gregorian chant:

Kyrie XI [ Lord, Have mercy ] from the choir of St Pierre de Solesmes, my favorite haunt when I was seventeen, with the greatest chant scholars and choir in the world:

That floating, swooping melody is characteristic of the chant.

**

Erbarme dich, mein Gott [ “Have mercy Lord, My God, for the sake of my tears” ] by JS Bach

If we lose have mercy, Lord from our conceptual vocabulary, we lose a higher octave of hope, of the necessity of surrender.

Erbarme Dich may be the single sweetest moment in Bach‘s The Matthew Passion, itself arguably the greatest piece of church music ever written — a monumental, gloriously beautiful, grief-stricken work.

**

Pure blues: Sinner’s prayer, Ray Charles and BB King:

If neither Bach nor the chant speak to you, perhaps the blues will — and if all three touch you, how wonderful the variety of expressions of the one prayer:

Lord please have mercy .. have mercy if you please..

**

Footnote: Other unforgettable versions:

  • JS Bach, Kyrie from the B Minor Mass
  • WA Mozart, Kyrie from the Requiem Mass
  • **

    Lord have mercy on the boys in the cave — knowing that the rescue task will be arduous, we ask mercy with hope and a readiness to surrender, to greet whatever outcome with our hearts flung open to grief or joy as the case may be.

    Seeking the Beloved, for Jim Gant

    Thursday, June 7th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — two great poems, my friend, and the impassioned voice of Sara Mingardo ]
    .

    Rainer Maria Rilke:

    You who never arrived..

    You who never arrived
    in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
    from the start,
    I don’t even know what songs
    would please you. I have given up trying
    to recognize you in the surging wave of
    the next moment. All the immense
    images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt
    landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
    unsuspected turns in the path,
    and those powerful lands that were once
    pulsing with the life of the gods–
    all rise within me to mean
    you, who forever elude me.

    You, Beloved, who are all
    the gardens I have ever gazed at,
    longing. An open window
    in a country house– , and you almost
    stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
    Streets that I chanced upon,–
    you had just walked down them and vanished.
    And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
    were still dizzy with your presence and,
    startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
    Who knows? Perhaps the same
    bird echoed through both of us
    yesterday, separate, in the evening…

    **

    Hide and go seek, or for the truly young at heart, peek-a-boo, is the earliest of games, and the most profound. We are seekers: there is something, some treasure to be found.

    Among the greatest of our comrades was Rabia of Basra who, sensing an unaccustomed absence of the divine beloved, wept all night long in prayer, WHere are You, Why have you left me? — only to be comforted in the morning by the renewal of the presence, which patiently asked, And Rabia, who do you suppose cried all night long, praying so urgently for my presence?

    Let us go seek, for the great game is upon us.

    **

    David Jones:

    If Rilke gave us the romantic beloved, Jones shows us the search for the beloved in the person of Christ, seeking his form without success in the structures of modernity..

    This poem is remarkable also for the two great wailing cries in Latin that give it its title and final words, giving poetry a passion more eaily found these days in the blues.. I know of no poem in the English language quite like it,.

    A, a, a, Domine Deus

    I said, Ah! what shall I write?
    I enquired up and down.
    (He’s tricked me before
    with his manifold lurking-places.)
    I looked for His symbol at the door.
    I have looked for a long while
    at the textures and contours.
    I have run a hand over the trivial intersections.
    I have journeyed among the dead forms
    causation projects from pillar to pylon.
    I have tired the eyes of the mind
    regarding the colours and lights.
    I have felt for His wounds
    in nozzles and containers.
    I have wondered for the automatic devices.
    I have tested the inane patterns
    without prejudice.
    I have been on my guard
    not to condemn the unfamiliar.
    For it is easy to miss Him
    at the turn of a civilisation.

    I have watched the wheels go round in case I
    might see the living creatures like the appearance
    of lamps, in case I might see the Living God projected
    from the Machine. I have said to the perfected steel,
    be my sister and for the glassy towers I thought I felt
    some beginnings of His creature, but A,a,a Domine Deus,
    my hands found the glazed work unrefined and the terrible
    crystal a stage-paste … Eia, Domine Deus.

    **

    We are frtunate to have that same cry, Domine Deus, delivered with unmatched devotional intensity in the voice of Sara Mingardo, in Rinaldo Alessandrini‘s version of Vivaldi‘s Gloria, RV589:

    I am posting this in the hope that it will go some way towards illuminating the equivalent devotional inttensity in Jones‘ poem. The whole Gloria in Alessandrini‘s version with Mingardo, can be found here on YouTube.


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