So tonight I just want to recommend something to you, my friends. Choose a beautiful poem that makes your heart sing and memorize it. Then recite it to yourself when things feel extra stressful. Stop and swim in the poetry.
Your mind will thank you for exercising your memory. Your heart will thank you for the beautiful images. I'm going to leave a poem that's become a great friend to me, and which goes with the feeling of what we're playing tonight.
We've pulled two tracks that we recorded with the lovely drummer Oso just before the pandemic lockdowns hit. It feels like a good time to revive them and continue with writing them.
Here's the poem that's keeping me company these days:
The Truly Great
By Stephen Spender
I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
What is precious, is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog, the flowering of the spirit.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.