Thursday, 26 July 2012


as if it wasn't enough the end of the chapter is signalled with anne sexton and one of my favourites at that.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in the stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone

then, just in case we're not getting it in comes james dickey and the life guard

I wash the black mud from my hands.
On a light given off by the grave
I kneel in the quick of the moon
At the heart of a distant forest
And hold in my arms a child
Of water, water, water.

but while i'm looking at dickey and in my head i'm comparing both of these to elizabeth bishop and adrienne rich i'm not actually reading anything american. no, i'm at tim winton's dirt music and the part in which the protagonist luther fox finds himself driving north with an old couple, music fans, the wife a retired english teacher, dying of bowel cancer. they drive and drive, bess quoting sexton and dickey and the car filled with music...

Luther fox flinches at this. He has to get out. Bess stabs the tape into the machine and slowly, tidally, the vehicle fills with the tolling of a bell and a descending string lick starts up. Something rolling down inevitably, compulsively, almost obsessive. Down. Diving. Skin-crackling. so beautiful it hurts.

That bell drones on and on, trapping him beneath a sky and moon of his very own, on his knees, like the last man alive hearing the sound of the others lifting off into oblivion....

which has me saying to myself immediately - arvo part, i'm going to be listening to some of that right now.

both myself and t agree you don't hear organs enough in music. but the organ in what we're listening to seems to have more to do with electronica than what might be considered in keeping with 'classical' music. these drones cut across the voices like a searchlight. much of part's music is apparently devotional. listing to it you'd need to be dropped from space not to suspect this but, as it seems to be about his orthodox beliefs who knows what he's on about? and to be honest i don't much care.

i like to use -ental words about it. elemental, fundamental, anything else like that that occupies the same space in the thesaurus. listening to the likes of fratres i say to t that if i was going to film it i'd take the camera up to the fields around the brooch of gurness and film the wind on the barley. there's a something about the quality of the music that gets me back into these primal landscapes, places i made with my childhood tongue, the shape of old words, sandstone under the fingertips.

part's music does for me all the stuff that the poetry i really like does but beyond the words. enough of that tho, here's fur alina and then him in action


Marion McCready said...

it's one of my favourite Sexton poems too, and I like Part very much, haven't listened to him for ages though

swiss said...

i think i'm thru my part listening phase for now - my head's too full of bells and voices!