Sunday, October 12, 2014

"No romance involved with all that now" - Fog Drenched With Gerard Manley Hopkins's "The Terrible Sonnets" Discovering Heitor Villa-Lobos

for Elaine Bellezza who turned me on to Villa Lobos and so many more artists,
writers, mystics and musicians

for Nelle A. Vander Ark who gave me the gift of Gerard Manley Hopkins poetry:

"Mine, o thou Lord of life, send my roots rain."

 Heitor Villa-Lobos

Bachianas Brasilieras # 1:
click this link for soundtrack to the writing below

Miss Nelle A. Vander Ark (photo 1974)
I knew her, as did most of her students, as
"Miss Van"

Awakened to this this morning, Bachianas Brasilieras No.1...I remember the first time I heard Villa Lobos - in college, thanks to Elaine Bellezza, a library copy and a suspended moment at the dorm window watching fog pour up from a deep Tennessee valley, socked in again, which often happened on Lookout Mountain, weeks of thick late Autumn fog, gray white-out cloud-light leaning into the unlit quarter, philosophy books stacked, Pre-Socratics, Church History, Clement, Polycarp, Gnostics (I realize now that I am one) wind howling just beyond the pane, the un-modulated whistle of said insistent storm playing the Castle In The Clouds in fierce Sinai song, Bachianas Brasilieras, No. 1, conducted by Villa Lobos himself, nothing short of revelation that my too young to be so weary self had no idea existed but upon hearing within pinnacled gale, then, nothing could prevail against my landing oriented-at-last by mostly cellos and fog spinning in the Brazilian folk rhythms I would spend my entire life descending toward, stumbling forward, misstepping after, "my kingdom for a macaw," become a slack-jawed shamanista entranced by dirt, green overhang in forest din, daily feathered by birds all kinds in twining limbs above.
The Castle In The Clouds, Hotel on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
which later became Covenant College where I studied after
high school.  I graduated eventually.  Long story.

Warren Falcon in 1972 at Covenant College
"A lost fart in a thunderstorm" 

No romance involved with all that now, I am an almost old man more rapidly untangling string by string, out-cello-ed in the end, and yet again, by an innate longing to land, go under, dwell within, peaking out, over strung, finally done with Polycarp and company, at one with my Hopkins book still, sufficed - Terrible Sonnets to accidental Grace - rendered, I yield, I am peeled layer by layer to pomes penny (p)each glottal stops and "soul, self, come, poor Jackself," be advised once more, "jaded, let be," while not forgetting to go with Lobos rhythms, leave "comfort root room" finally escaping John Calvin's dire and doom..."let joy size At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile’s not wrung, see you"--

and raise you One.

Fog rolling in on Lookout Mountain, Covenant College in its sites.
I loved the dense fog there very much.

The sonnet entire, #47, by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

MY own heart let me have more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
I cast for comfort I can no more get
By groping round my comfortless, than blind
Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
Thirst ’s all-in-all in all a world of wet.

Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
’s not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather—as skies
Betweenpie mountains—lights a lovely mile.


Recordings of Bachianas Brasilieras on
Bachianas Brasilieras #2  (almost my favorite...note the saxophone solos)

Bachianas Brasilieras #2 (Wayne Shorter's jazz version)

Bachianas Brasilieras #5 (my favorite...this recording is with Bidu Sayão who was first to sing this BB)

Documentary on Gerard Manley Hopkins:


One of my own early attempts with Hopkins influence strong on me, even though the poem begins and ends with lines by Shelley the rhythms and such have more Hopkins than any other...

A Grief Earned - An Ode Beginning & Ending With Lines From Shelley

Here, on one fountain of a mourning mind,

I have been taken up into grief, the strange
relief of clouds. Soon departed, I shall be
once again returned to disquieted prayer,
the proud monk to his rites rejoined such
are covers for disjointedness.

Adroit is the spoiled self touching only
late that of Other, of Beauty, Adonais
'dead then' when Mr. Shelley, once young,
now always, has clung 'moderne, as much
as, as soon as he can deny, spurn, return
a Vision 'toward the vital air.'


He has the advantage of an Eastern detachment.

I, meanwhile, to walls stick, to
sheets, this cup, full, cannot release.

I step, my foot remains to boards,
stuck, must walk inwardly restrained,

halt, try to, misstep, the usual tread
of, with, my heart.


With heart will I to Guatemala go,
a Mayan lover do some good, me there,

to active  volcanoes, deepest lake there
with creatures strange - axelotls, pink,


and one fountain send where I need
to go - there, continually letting

the hollows go, release the tread,
following, and the after-flow;

feeling grief's all,
I follow to where all is fled...


Another, with a Hopkins-esque feel:

Poem For Caravaggio - Contemplating "The Conversion On The Way To Damascus" At 4 a.m.

In the shorter light, the extended
night of cold and star-bright questions,
may you cast clumsy net forward into
what it all might mean to fretted you,
to me, stretched canvas, though I will
not thrust these words upon your paint
or palette but make offering for your
own work to feed us through the eyes;
perhaps time to remount the horse
and soldier on, or to fall again, gain
Damascus perspective, from one's
back watch vision distort massive
horse into a God receding into necessary
darkness foregoing image,

see what may form in the spreading dirt,

what resurrection there is in the smell of paint.


And finally this:

Toward Erasure No Longer Effortful

That one day the book shall be written,
Odysseus come smiling through the door.
That I shall live forevermore free of provision,
be delivered presently into good, rich life
and unto the richer world, my Lover so long
turning turning turning in distance away from,
yet to manage a caress, a kiss which
neither dismisses nor fully embraces.
It is I that am and shall be erased into this
Love which shall then in time be erased
as well in the greater Sun and that Shining,
too, shall be erased. Then we shall all be
scattered, or I shall be only, embrace by
embrace, toward erasure no longer effortful.

I sift draft by draft rough toward world
now slowing in spite of parentheses these
provisional postulations of 'the good life'
to come. Eventually. There is only this
that I am living now. And my hands feel,
even perhaps are, strapped to this wheel
that turns me as turns Beloved Earth,
the Sun, too, each dreaming
near to but apart from each.

My reach is
here on my tongue,
in my fingers here
grasping words from mind.
I am ever behind in this chase,
now am further from



than ever
though my heart
is swollen from
wanting It.

Still, world, accept my blessing.

I send this message aloft on kingfisher wings.