Even Now, Here I See Ye

To a Locomotive in Winter


To a Locomotive in Winter

Thee for my recitative,
Thee in the driving storm, even as now, the snow, the winter-day declining,
Thee in thy panoply, thy measur’d dual throbbing and thy beat convulsive,
Thy black cylindric body, golden brass, and silvery steel,
Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods, gyrating, shuttling
at thy sides,
Thy metrical, now swelling pant and roar, now tapering in the distance,
Thy great protruding head-light fix’d in front,
Thy long, pale, floating vapor-pennants, tinged with delicate purple,
The dense and murky clouds out-belching from thy smoke-stack,
Thy knitted frame, thy springs and valves, the tremulous twinkle of thy wheels
Thy train of cars behind, obedient, merrily-following,
Through gale or calm, now swift, now slack, yet steadily careering;
Type of the modern—emblem of motion and power—pulse of the continent,
For once come serve the Muse and merge in verse, even as here I see thee,
With storm and buffeting gusts of wind, and falling snow,
By day thy warning ringing bell to sound its notes,
By night thy silent signal lamps to swing.

Walt Whitman, 1876

An interesting article on Whitman’s poem appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of The Virginia Quarterly Review.

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The Spirit of Simple Faith: Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet

 

Gavin Bryers:

“In 1971, when I lived in London, I was working with a friend, Alan Power, on a film about people living rough in the area around Elephant and Castle and Waterloo Station.  In the course of being filmed, some people broke into drunken song – sometimes bits of opera, sometimes sentimental ballads – and one, who in fact did not drink, sang a religious song Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet….

When I played it at home, I found that his singing was in tune with my piano, and I improvised a simple accompaniment. I noticed, too, that the first section of the song – 13 bars in length – formed an effective loop which repeated in a slightly unpredictable way.  I took the tape loop to Leicester, where I was working in the Fine Art Department, and copied the loop onto a continuous reel of tape, thinking about perhaps adding an orchestrated accompaniment to this.  The door of the recording room opened on to one of the large painting studios and I left the tape copying, with the door open, while I went to have a cup of coffee.  When I came back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued.  People were moving about much more slowly than usual and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping.

I was puzzled until I realised that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man’s singing.  This convinced me of the emotional power of the music and of the possibilities offered by adding a simple, though gradually evolving, orchestral accompaniment that respected the tramp’s nobility and simple faith.  Although he died before he could hear what I had done with his singing, the piece remains as an eloquent, but understated testimony to his spirit and optimism.”

Audio/Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet:

 

Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet

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My Articles for Wednesday, July 04, 2007

President Bush’s act to commute Libby’s prison sentence is seen by many as an expedient decision made in an impetuous attempt to cling to his remaining hardcore base for the remainder of his term in office, as well as to protect Dick Cheney and perhaps himself from implication. An overview of many angry reactions to his decision is presented.

[tags: President Bush, Dick Cheney, politics, legal, Bush commutes sentence]

See the Rest of My Articles at Blue Dot

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