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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Am in Need of Music

(Four Musical Angels by Bernardo Daddi, circa 1280-1348,
Early Italian Renaissance painter)

As we see with Millay’s “On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven” yesterday and today’s verse by Elizabeth Bishop, the sonnet, the “little sound” or “song,” is particularly well suited, with its length and rhythm and rhyme, to celebrate the magic made by music.


I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

~ Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), American poet, appointed poet laureate 1949-1950

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