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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 5/9/20

Happy Saturday and the weekly music and poetry,



When the times call for social distancing, cellists of the New York Philharmonic respond with J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello in G major: You may recall the tune from Master and Commander and The Pianist.

I thought it would be fun to listen to a couple of songs that address loneliness in their titles:



It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and I remember and honor my mother, Jessica Sonnenberg, a woman of integrity, wisdom, and kindness.

She instilled in us her passion for books, music and theatre. Books were piled everywhere in our home; visits to the local public library were regular field trips; reading together was a recurring pass time.

If Al Gore invented the internet, Jessica invented the “news feed.” After I left the house, she began her years-long practice of sending me curated “care packages” of information in bulging envelopes, each filled with letters on what was going on at home and her observations on the news, newspaper clippings of articles she had gathered that week (not simply torn out of the paper, but neatly clipped), political cartoons, and inspirational poetry and quotations.

An early memory I have from first grade was coming home from school upset about something someone had said. My mother pulled out a book of poetry and read this one aloud. She later gave me a copy that I taped to my wall. I reread it often, as if it were some sort of prescription for success—perhaps it was. I think of this poem often. It strikes the right chord of earnestness today as it did then:


Rudyard Kipling - 1865-1936

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run— Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Here’s to our mothers. For those who still enjoy their company, make sure to give them a call and a “virtual hug.” For those who have lost their mothers, try what I do each year. Take moment alone, in quiet, close your eyes and remember.

Happy Mother’s Day,


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