Friday, October 14, 2016

Daily Gratitude: Music & Poetry

Hot Harmonica on a Cool Night
Day 23/365: I am grateful for music that adds to the joy of life, excites us, soothes us, makes us dance, takes us to other lands.

One night in the Sierra foothills, people gathered under the stars, listening to this musician play a hot harmonica on that cool evening.

Arthur O'Shaughnessy's "Ode," is one of my favorites and the best known work of this British poet and herpetologist(!). He died too young after getting a chill walking home from the theater on a rainy night.

 Other thoughts on music:

"Where words fail, music speaks."
-- Hans Christian Anderson

“Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional. It has no power to represent anything particular or external, but it has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation.”
― Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Here's the full version of "Ode."

WE are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
  And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,         5
  On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
  Of the world forever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,  10
  And out of a fabulous story
  We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
  Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure  15
  Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
  In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
  And Babel itself with our mirth;  20
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
  To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
  Or one that is coming to birth.

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