June 27, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Magic of Melody

This week has gone by in a blur. I'm clawing my way out of a major sleep deficit brought on by too many people to see and too many things to do when I was visiting the United States. Changing time zones repeatedly didn't help, and I've been a mess for the past few days -- because it's when you're the most tired that sleep sometimes is elusive. You know how little kids get when they really need a nap? It's not so pretty when a kid does it, and when it's an adult doing the whinging/writhing on the floor, wailing/flailing, drumming heels thing, it's not great either. When you're jet-lagged is not the best time for a visit from the Insomnia Monster, but of course, that's when it comes, and you can only hang on and watch your sanity unravel. Ugh.

At times such as these, music truly soothes some portion of the bĂȘtes savauges, and if it can't put me to sleep, can at least help me to focus on what I need to do, and to relax. The rest and music in this poem spoke to me, and brought to mind slow swirling duets of wind instruments, cool screened porches, hammocks, soft summer evenings and floating in the liquid stream of guitar notes. Here's hoping you find your peaceful place -- and your favorite music -- this weekend.


I am in need of music that would flow

Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,

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.

"Sonnet" by Elizabeth Bishop. from The Complete Poems: 1937-1971. © Farrar, Straus & Giroux. More of Ms. Bishop's works can be found here. Poetry Friday comes out swinging this week (check out Guan Daosheng. That woman had chutzpah. And apparently a really nice collection of clay pottery) with Jennie @ Biblio File. Peace to you.


Sara said...

I know just what you mean about the kid needing a nap feeling. I actually took a nap outside at an amusement park last weekend! I must be old...

Hang in there, and I hope the melody of regular sleep and waking returns soon.

jama said...

What a beautiful sonnet. *Sprinkling sand on your eyelids* Rest well!

Anonymous said...

It seems like rereading that poem several times before bed would soothe and peacefulize... It's really beautiful. I hope rest comes soon.

divatobe said...

So wish you could hear our Bach tomorrow night--it is soothing :)

Kelly said...

Oh, gosh, Tadmack, I HATE that feeling. Going back home after jetlag. Here's hoping you'll be feeling just fine by Monday :)

Sarah Stevenson said...

I love the sound of "bitter-tainted, trembling lips"--what a turn of phrase.

From one insomniac to another, hope that ends soon...I've had stress-related sleep issues this week myself. Argh!

Anonymous said...

I am in need of music's flow as well. Or a nap. Or both. Glad you're home safe and well.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

How lovely. I can almost hear that music for real. Sonnet... sonata... listen to something slow and cool in the dark.

Jennie said...

There is a magic made by melody:

A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool

So very true. I hope a deep sleep comes to you soon.