Last night I spent several hours listening to records. That’s right I said “records” meaning “LP’s”, “vinyl”, “albums”, etc. Remember those? I am not stuck in the past and exhibit that by my large CD collection and several thousand digital downloads. On my iPhone lives around a thousand songs that travel around with me all the time. However, there’s just something special, warm and personally reminiscent about the sound that comes from my LP collection of around 3,500 LP’s.
Music matters to me far more than television or movies and even a little more than books. That is saying a lot since reading is a highly favorite way to spend my time. Some of the music I love best is poetry set to music. Last night while listening to James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Prince, The Beatles and Concrete Blonde I looked through a couple of my poetry books. The notion struck me of wondering how some of the old poems might sound set to music that matched their meter and rhyme. I can almost hear the melody of poems like:
“The Years” by Sara Teasdale 1884 – 1933
Tonight I close my eyes and see
A strange procession passing me–
The years before I saw your face
Go by me with wishful grace
They pass, the sensitive shy years,
As one who strives to dance, half blind with tears
The years went by and never knew
That each one brought me nearer to you;
Their path was narrow and apart
And yet it led me to your heart–
Oh sensitive shy years, oh lonely years,
That strove to sing with voices drowned in tears.
Kisses Kept Are Waster by Edmund Vance Cooke (1866-1932)
Kisses kept are wasted;
Love is to be tasted.
There are some you love, I know;
Be not loathe to tell them so.
Lips go dry and eyes grow wet
Waiting to be warmly met.
Keep them not in waiting yet;
Kisses kept are wasted.”
“To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet 1612-1672
If ever two were one then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife were happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold
Of all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor aught but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere
That when we live not more, we may live ever.
It’s whimsical to imagine such old poetic work having a modern musical score. Yet when I read some of it, there is a melody about the poems that is just out of reach of my ears. That phenomenon is one of the things I love most about well written rhyming poetry. While I appreciate works that don’t rhyme, like Whitman, I just can’t hold any of it to the high level of esteem I feel for even metered, rhyming work.
This morning I am thankful for all the music I love that has been a soundtrack for my life. In like kind, there is deep gratitude within for the words of the poets that stir my soul and heart so much I imagine music set behind them.
Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.