Musings from the Bunker 12/5/20
Time for some poetry. Here a favorite winter poem, about winter in my favorite place:
Winter in California
By Karl Shapiro
It is winter in California, and outside
Is like the interior of a florist shop:
A chilled and moisture-laden crop
Of pink camellias lines the path; and what
Rare roses for a banquet or a bride,
So multitudinous that they seem a glut!
A line of snails crosses the golf-green lawn
From the rosebushes to the ivy bed;
An arsenic compound is distributed
For them. The gardener will rake up the shells
And leave in a corner of the patio
The little mound of empty shells, like skulls.
By noon the fog is burnt off by the sun
And the world's immensest sky opens a page
For the exercise of a future age;
Now jet planes draw straight lines, parabolas,
And x's, which the wind, before they're done,
Erases leisurely or pulls to fuzz.
It is winter in the valley of the vine.
The vineyards crucified on stakes suggest
War cemeteries, but the fruit is pressed,
The redwood vats are brimming in the shed,
And on the sidings stand tank cars of wine,
For which bright juice a billion grapes have bled.
And skiers from the snow line driving home
Descend through almond orchards, olive farms.
Fig tree and palm tree - everything that warms
The imagination of the wintertime.
If the walls were older one would think of Rome:
If the land were stonier one would think of Spain.
But this land grows the oldest living things,
Trees that were young when Pharoahs ruled the world,
Trees whose new leaves are only just unfurled.
Beautiful they are not; they oppress the heart
With gigantism and with immortal wings;
And yet one feels the sumptuousness of this dirt.
It is raining in California, a straight rain
Cleaning the heavy oranges on the bough,
Filling the gardens till the gardens flow,
Shining the olives, tiling the gleaming tile,
Waxing the dark camellia leaves more green,
Flooding the daylong valleys like the Nile.
By Henry van Dyke
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.
Several friends have asked about the group Postmodern Jukebox, whose covers of classics have been included in the Musings. Here’s Scott Bradlee, its leader, talking about his early attraction to classic standards and Motown:
“I appreciated the creativity, skill, and — above all — natural talent that went into their creation. Years later, as a musician living in New York City, I formed Postmodern Jukebox as way to bring the classic sounds I loved back into the mainstream, and to build a platform to celebrate real, unadulterated, deserving talent. [We] perform the classic genres…for the audiences who appreciate them. The vocalists sing every note live, without any tuning help. The musicians make every sound you hear on stage and in my living room with the instruments you see them playing. That doesn’t matter to everyone, but it matters to us and I believe it matters to our fans. We do it the old fashioned way and we love every second of it.”
Here they are with “Dancing With Myself,” in black and white and dressed for the 30s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIpW5dJcp0w&feature=emb_title
And here is a playful and thoroughly enjoyable rendition of “I’ll be There for You” (the theme from Friends) performed in the styles from the 1930s through the 1990s (with costumes and choreography bespeaking each era): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q7ExHaKt2M&feature=emb_title. Trust me, you’ll smile.
Have a great weekend,